Promises, Promises

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Mississippi Senate and House leaders have apparently vowed that when they return to the Capitol they will agree on a lawsuit limitations bill.

Sen. Terry Burton of Newton and Meridian Rep. Greg Snowden agreed that would happen.

Burton said recent close votes have indicated to the chief opponent of change, Rep. Ed Blackmon, a trial lawyer, that the House is willing to change.

"It will be possible. I think that Rep. Blackmon has realized, he's a very stubborn man, he holds his ground but also a very reasonable man, I think," said Burton. "And I think he realizes that the vote last week on the bill that would have gone to the governor had the House voted to concur, only missed by one vote. And I think that there's an obvious desire on the part of the majority of the House to get limits."

Burton added that the likely caps are $500,000 for medical damages and a graduated cap of up to $1 million for general business.

Rep. Greg Snowden agreed a bill will pass, but said he thinks there will be other changes as well.

"I believe we'll have significant changes. I believe the venue statutes will be tightened up. I believe the 'innocent seller' language to protect retailers from being unnecessarily joined in lawsuits, that's going to be a prominent feature. And perhaps the most talked about feature, I believe there will be some sort cap, general liability cap, on non- economic damages. Now the amount of that cap and how that takes place is something of some discussion yet, but I believe that's going to happen," Snowden said.

Snowden also cited earlier votes on the part of the House as an indication that change is wanted, needed and will take place.