Special Session Ends

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A marathon special session has ended with Mississippi lawmakers reaching a consensus on tort reform.

The House and Senate Tuesday morning adjourned the session that began Sept. 5. Lawmakers passed a products liability bill that caps punitive damages and limits where lawsuits against businesses can be filed.

The bill has been sent to the governor, who signed a medical malpractice reform bill more than a month ago.

The civil justice reform bill caps punitive damages in product liability cases against businesses and corporations, restricts where lawsuits can be filed, punishes people for frivolous lawsuits. It also prevents out-of-state residents from being joined in lawsuits with Mississippi residents.

"I think the punitive caps are pretty fair in most cases looking at that. I think, overall, even though it took forever to get this accomplished, we have some good legislation," said Sen. Videt Carmichael of Meridian.

"I think the highlights are the caps on punitive damages which are pretty solid," said Meridian Rep. greg Snowden. "Also the treatment of joint and several liability which will make for a fairer situation. Those probably are the highlights. There's also the innocent seller language that's not as good as some of us had hoped but still is acceptable and other parts of the bill are really pretty solid, too."

In addition, the bill creates a procedure to protect retailers who sell products that are faulty through no fault of the retailer.

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