Success for Civil Justice Reform in Oklahoma

Tulsa World, “Legislature OKs lawsuit reforms.”

Daily Oklahoman, “Tort reform bill goes to Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry.” The governor is inclined to sign HB 1603, a spokesman says; in 2007 he vetoed reform legislation.

The Daily Oklahoman summarizes the key provisions:

  • A $400,000 cap on noneconomic damages for all negligence cases. The cap may be lifted if a judge or jury determines there is permanent physical injury, catastrophic injury, gross negligence or recklessness. A previous version of the tort reform bill called for a $300,000 cap. The caps would not be in place until May 2011.
  • Cases alleging negligence by a physician must be proven by “clear and convincing evidence.”
  • In cases where the settlement is coupons, the attorney shall also receive the fee in coupons.
  • Several changes to how class-action lawsuits are handled, including a limit on allowing nonresidents to be included in a class-action suit in Oklahoma.
  • An expert would have to certify that a professional negligence case had merit before it could proceed.
  • Information presented during a physician peer review session would remain confidential and could not be used in a lawsuit.

The State Chamber has also posted the conference report summarizing the legislation here, and the bill’s text here.

Earlier posts here.

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