Civil Justice – HB2008


***TAKE ACTION – CIVIL JUSTICE***

HB 2008/SB 1522 “Tennessee Civil Justice Act of 2011”
SPONSORS: Sen. Mark Norris, Rep. G. McCormick

SUMMARY: Places caps on damages in most personal injury and health care malpractice lawsuits and would also limit punitive damages. Exempts the perpetrators of ponzi schemes from the TN Consumer Protection Act.
May 12, 2011 – passed by the Senate.
May 20, 2011 – passed by the House.
May 24, 2011 – Signed by House Speaker
May 25, 2011 – Signed by Senate Speaker

Bill History

WHAT THIS BILL DOES – CIVIL JUSTICE: The bill will place caps in most personal injury and health care malpractice lawsuits and would also limit punitive damages. It should be called the “Miscarriage of Justice Act of 2011” since it takes away the rights of Tennesseans to have their case heard fully in front of a jury.

WHAT THIS BILL DOES – CONSUMER PROTECTION: In addition to telling a jury how much they can award a victim or a victim’s family, this bill would also gut the TN Consumer Protection Act in very harmful ways.

MESSAGE ABOUT CIVIL JUSTICE:

  • Please do not place a cap on damages in personal injury and malpractice lawsuits. Damage awards by juries act as a deterrent and prevent large corporations (hospitals, nursing home chains, etc) from repeating the irresponsible business practices that lead to abuse, neglect, and/or death.
  • Placing caps on damage awards takes away the right of juries to hold accountable any responsible parties as they see fit.
  • It should be called the “Miscarriage of Justice Act of 2011” since it takes away the rights of Tennesseans to have their case heard fully. Placing caps on damage awards takes away the right of victims and the families of victims to have their full day in court
  • Tennessee does not have an have an epidemic of medical lawsuits – medical negligence is less than 1% of all civil cases and less than seven jury verdicts per year in Tennessee
  • This bill places burden for the irresponsible business practices of large corporations (hospitals, nursing home chains, etc) on victims and their families
  • Caps on damages is just bad public policy
  • More info: WPLN (transcript), Tammy Travis’ Story (video)

MESSAGE ABOUT CONSUMER PROTECTION:

  • In addition to telling a jury how much they can award a victim or a victim’s family, this bill would also gut the TN Consumer Protection Act in very harmful ways:
  • Victims of Ponzi schemes would no longer be able to bring claims under the TN Consumer Protection Act.
  • Individuals would no longer be able to bring suit for “unfair or deceptive business practices” not specifically spelled out in TN Consumer Protection Act.
  • The TN Consumer Protection Act has protected Tennesseans since 1977 without complaint. Why change something that works? This is yet another solution in search of a problem.
  • More info: Tennessean

Watch a clip from the discussion on HB2008 in House Judiciary Committee:

Another clip:

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