Tort reform legislative update

So far, it's been a busy week for tort reform in the State House, specifically H3489, the tort reform legislation sponsored by House Speaker Bobby Harrell (and several dozen co-sponsors).

As the Blogland reported yesterday, the ball got rolling on moving this legislation forward this week.   In a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing earlier today, an amended version of the House bill (the amendment  adopted regardied the percentages on the sliding scale for attorneys' fees in the Private Attorney Retention section) received a unanimous vote.  Chairman Jim Harrison, Rep. Greg Delleney, Rep. Gary Smith, and Rep. Walt McLeod all voted in favor of the amendment. Rep. James Smith could not attend the meeting due to a commitment in Washington, DC.

This legislation, if enacted, would make the following reforms:

    1) Punitive Damages - the language provides for a limit on awards of 3x compensatory damages or $350,000 whichever is greater.
    2) Private Attorney Retention - the language provides for a sliding scale on outside counsel fees and other oversights provisions for attorneys hired by the attorney general.
    3) Statute of Repose - the language assures that building code violations do not constitute per se fraud, gross negligence or recklessness, but such violations may be introduced as evidence.
    4) Appeal Bond Caps - appeal bonds are limited to $25 Million for larger businesses and $1 million dollars for small businesses.
    5) Admissibility of non-use of seat belts - the amendment repeals the statutory prohibition on the admissibility of failure to use a seat belt in civil actions.
All of these represent long-overdue improvements.  Special thanks go to Chairman Harrison and Rep. Garry Smith for their efforts, as well as the other committee members who threw their support in behind this legislation.
The bill now moves forward to action in the full Judiciary Committee, which is expected to begin next week.

0 Response to "Tort reform legislative update"

Post a Comment

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts!

To post a comment without having a Blogger account, select "Name/URL", put your name in, but leave the URL line blank. Email me if you'd like to comment, but need help making it work.