Family Attorney Upset over Caps for Compensation

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(Memphis) When Memphis police officer Alex Beard rammed into a car on Crump Boulevard in August, Deloise Epps and her daughter Mackala were killed.

Mackala’s father, Michael Ross, was severely injured.

Now his family has hired an attorney and wants the city to pay for what he calls negligence.

"He has a million dollars in medical bills," Ross family attorney, Thomas Greer, said.

Under Tennessee law the most he can collect is $300,000, and he probably won't even see all of that.

That's because a law caps a city payout at $700,000 for a particular incident.  So, in the Crump case,  two people were killed and one was injured. iI you divide that by three that’s about $233,333 each.

“The reason this is really news worthy and worthy of being told is these things happen all the time. People are injured by police officers in wrecks and by other city employees by negligent accidents and they`re not compensated fully,” Greer said.

This compensation cap however, is not unique to Tennessee.

Florida cities are capped at $200,000.

In Texas, cities are capped at $250,000.

Memphis City Attorney Herman Morris could only speculate why legislators put these limits on city lawsuits.

“Perhaps the burden imposed on the community at large and taxpayers," he said.

As for the Crump crash case, he said that he hopes to reach a settlement.

“If we can avoid it and reach a just and appropriate result without going to court we will certainly take that opportunity and option,” Morris said.

This lawsuit only names Michael Ross and Mackala. Deloise Epps’s family has still not filed a lawsuit, but we are told they are planning on it. They have a year to file.

Greer said that he hopes the city offers the full $700,000 in this case, he said if that happens then there will be no trial and a judge can decided how to split the money.