Senate Passes Tort Bill

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The Mississippi Senate Tuesday passed its third general civil justice bill. The bill's fate in the House, its next stop, is uncertain.

The Senate passed the bill 34-to-10. The House met briefly Tuesday afternoon and took no action on the Senate bill. House Speaker Tim Ford said the House committee expects to take a look at the bill Wednesday.

During the two weeks the Legislature has been dealing with general civil justice, the two chambers have consistently killed the legislation passed by the other chamber. The bulk of the bill passed by the Senate is almost identical to legislation passed twice previously by the Senate and then killed in the House.

The bill has a punitive damages cap of $5 million. The House has passed legislation with a much higher punitive cap. The House bill would cap punitive damages at 10 percent of a company's net worth.

The new Senate bill includes the banking protection language already passed by the House. That language capped the amount of damages awarded by juries to people who might have been the victim of fraud or misinformation by a lending institution on a loan of $20,000 or less.