published Friday, May 20th, 2011

Lawsuit caps legislation goes to Tennessee governor

Gov. Haslam
Gov. Haslam

NASHVILLE — Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s bill to cap awards in medical malpractice and other personal injury cases is headed to the governor for his signature after the House reluctantly agreed to a Senate change in the legislation.

The GOP-controlled House originally sought to lift the $750,000 cap on non-economic damages if the defendant caused the injury while committing a felony. But the version approved by Senate majority Republicans eliminates the cap only if the defendant intended to cause the injury.

Rep. Vance Dennis, R-Savannah, the House bill’s sponsor, said while he disagrees with the Senate version, it was important to get the bill to Haslam. He said senators have agreed to work him on separate legislation to restore the House version, although that will likely to occur next year

That didn’t satisfy Rep. Eddie Bass, D-Prospect, a former sheriff.

"Just so everyone will know, we're giving felons the same protection as anyone else” in accepting the Senate version, he said.

The change was adopted on a 68-27 vote, sending the bill on to Haslam, who made limiting lawsuit damages a major initiative in his legislative package.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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Leaf said...

Excellent! We've long needed a cap on malpractice insurance. Kudos, congress.

May 20, 2011 at 12:40 p.m.
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May 20, 2011 at 9:07 p.m.
ceeweed said...

Leaf, I am pleased to know that your life is worth a mere $750,000.00 (or a million if you get burned to a crisp and manage to live). Life is cheap in Tennessee.

May 21, 2011 at 8:26 a.m.
michaelend said...

Leaf, this legislation will not save you one penny after its enactment. It may result in an increase in the profits of the medical malpractice insurance companies, but it will not result in anything positive. The impact of the law will only be felt by the handful of people each year who suffer the most devastating injuries. Those unfortunate people will now be unable to recover fair compensation for the harm caused by negligent health care providers. This law is nothing to cheer about. Just pray that you are not one of those people who will be seriously injured by medical negligence.

May 21, 2011 at 12:16 p.m.
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