Tort Reform Bill Sent to Governor

By: Stan Torgerson
By: Stan Torgerson

Opponents had dug in their heels and vowed not to accept non-economic damages caps, but eventually they did:

    ** $500,000 for medical malpractice
    ** $1 million in all other civil causes of action
    ** Protection for retailers who sell products they themselves did not manufacture

District 83 Rep. Greg Snowden of Meridian, who voted for the bill, said outside pressure and political momentum got it passed.

"Folks that were supportive of tort reform. Folks that were on the fence. They all heard very strongly from people back home and just finally that paid off," said Snowden.

Reaction was strong from both sides. Rep. Ed Blackmon, a trial lawyer himself, said, "We could not match the Republican juggernaut that was put into play here. It was unrelenting and it was something no member had experienced before."

But the National Federation of Independent Business said:

"Mississippians will not allow our court system to be used for the purpose of getting rich or getting even with someone. This new law restores the blindfold back on Lady Justice so that liability is based on facts, fairness and the rule of law, not feelings, frivolous claims, or the desire for fortune."

Now the question appears to be, 'will this tort reform bill stand the test of time?'

"No one on either side is saying anything other than this is a major tort reform effort," said Snowden. "That's certainly what this bill represents and time will tell, you know, if it achieves the purpose we hope it will."

The bill now goes to Governor Barbour, who says he will sign it.


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