Tort Reform Begins Journey Through State House

After weeks of waiting in the wings, Governor Bill Haslam’s high priority tort reform legislation started its journey through the State House Wednesday. A House subcommittee voted in favor of an amended bill.

The governor’s main goal with tort reform is to limit the dollar amounts of damages awarded in civil suits. But those caps have been intensely negotiated. Here’s one example: For an individual suffering multiple amputations, defined in the bill as catastrophic damages, the limit on what he could get in a lawsuit is now $1 million. The bill started at $750,000.

Bradley Jackson, lobbyist for the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce, says even with the higher caps, the tort reform legislation should be good for business.

“Overall, the bill, we see as a major step forward in helping create jobs in our state.”

Jackson says a section on product liability will be particularly attractive to businesses looking to start up or relocate in Tennessee.

The tort reform bill has its biggest test next week in the House Judiciary Committee. The bill already has broad support in the Senate.

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The bill is HB 2008 McCormick/SB 1522 Norris.

The Senate sponsor, Mark Norris of Memphis, has waited for the House bill to be sent through the gauntlet of committees before bringing it up in the Senate.

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