South Carolina Legislators Take Tort Reform Seriously

By March 4, 2010Briefly Legal

By a vote of 104-9, the South Carolina House of Representatives on Wednesday passed H. 3489 to restrain litigation costs and make the state more attractive to business investment.

House Speaker Bobby Harrell (R-Charleston), the chief sponsor, said in a statement:

Today, by passing our comprehensive Business Tort Reform Bill, the House took another major leap forward in making South Carolina a great place to do business. Maintaining our low-tax and pro-business climate is key to our state’s economic recovery.

This reform bill will help secure our state’s economic future by reducing the cost of running a business, creating a more fair court system and making South Carolina more competitive. Our neighboring states have already enacted such Tort Reform provisions, putting our state at a disadvantage. Unlike a business in a neighboring state, a business in our state is too often one lawsuit away from being put out of business.

According to the state Chamber of Commerce’s summary, H.3489 provides language for limits on punitive damages, addresses attorneys’ fees, establishes a cap for businesses on the amount of bond a business must post to file an appeal, addresses the statute of repose for building code violations and repeals the prohibition on the admissibility of failure to use a seat belt. The limit on punitive damages in civil cases is $350,000.

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