Newly inaugurated Governor Bill Haslam has presented his first round of proposed legislation, which includes a proposal for tort reform. The proposed legislation, called the “Tennessee Civil Justice Improvement Act of 2011,” would cap at $750,000 the amount of noneconomic damages that could be assessed against a company or an individual found guilty of negligence in causing death or injury. This limit would apply to each occurrence in lawsuits involving healthcare, even if there are multiple plaintiffs involved.
Furthermore, punitive damages assessed as punishment for wrongdoing would be limited to either $500,000 or twice the amount of compensatory damages (actual money losses of the plaintiff), whichever is greater.
Haslam’s proposal includes provisions for restricting where a lawsuit can be filed to reducing the amount of bond a company must post to appeal a lawsuit after losing in trial court. Haslam claims that all of the proposed changes are necessary to create a better business environment in Tennessee and to help Tennessee in job-recruiting efforts.
This proposed legislation is definitely something worth keeping an eye on.