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Municipal civil penalties in excess of $50 violate Article VI, Section 14 of the Tennessee Constitution if their purpose is punitive rather than remedial, the Tennessee Supreme Court held on Sept. 4 in City of Chattanooga v. Davis and Barrett v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, ____ S.W.3d _____ (Tenn. 2001) [2001 WL 1005941]. The difficulty of showing that a municipality’s civil penalty is remedial rather than punitive means that most municipalities will find it in their interest not to levy civil penalties more than $50.



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