States Prevent Expansion of ‘Jackpot Justice’

By April 16, 2008Briefly Legal

Employers, that is, jobs creators, were successful in recently concluded Georgia and Maryland legislative sessions in beating back efforts to make it easier to sue for this, that and the other thing.

The Maryland Chamber of Commerce, an NAM affiliate, has released its recap of business-related issues in the 2008 session. In the area of tort reform, the following bad bills were defeated:

  • False Claims: Legislation that would have provided individuals new grounds to sue state government contractors (SB 845/HB 292) and health care providers (SB 215) for an allegation of filing a false claim for benefits.
  • Market Share Liability: Legislation that would have imposed an unprecedented standard of liability for companies that previously sold lead paint based on their market shares (HB 1241).
  • Noneconomic Damages: Legislation to increase the cap on noneconomic damage awards for lawsuits alleging wrongful death resulting from medical malpractice (SB550/HB 969).
  • Market-share liability, that’s a great one. Rather than connect liability to the specific person or company that caused harm, you’d just apportion the damages according to some calculation. Joint-and-several liability in the Twilight Zone. Next thing you know they’ll try to bootstrap lead paint lawsuits based on public nuisance law.(More from the Maryland Chamber here.)

    Meanwhile, in its session-ending review, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce reported success in blocking bad bills, etc., the reversal of past progress:

    Dismantling of Tort Reform. Legislation to weaken provisions from 2005’s Civil Justice Reform Act (SB 3) – by removing the section requiring plaintiffs’ attorneys to prove that emergency room doctors acted with gross negligence – was stalled, although the Georgia Trial Lawyers’ Association has already announced that this will be their top priority during the 2009 legislative session.

    Count on the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association to keep fighting to drive those doctors out of the state.

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