Miscarriage of Justice Act Passes Out of House Judiciary
On Tuesday, 4/19/11, HB2008 passed out of the TN House Judiciary Committee. Below you can watch the discussion, including attempts to add amendments that make the bill more fair to hardworking Tennesseans (who are not known to file many lawsuits and who have been protected by the TN Consumer Protection Act since 1977). One amendment in particular states that if passed, it would add back into the bill some of Governor Haslam’s original language that a person convicted of a felony is not covered under any caps on damages. Why it was taken out in the first place we’ll never know.
During the discussion, Rep. Vance Dennis said that civil justice is about providing restitution to victims and not about protection or prevention. Mother and activist Tammy Travis – along with other victims and their family members – know otherwise. For them, it’s not about the money. It’s about holding large corporations accountable and preventing them from making the same egregious mistakes over and over (like hiring known drug addicts to administer anesthesia to their patients).
Among the very good questions asked was this gem by Rep. Sheriff Eddie Bass: Is this bill now protecting felons from futher punishment by implement caps on damages?
Unfortunately, this good amendment failed – and it was all down hill from there.
Rep. Janis Sontany tried to amend the bill to raise the caps for victims left with traumatic brain injuries. No go.
Rep. Mike Stewart tried to get to the bottom of the section of HB2008 that would exempt the Bernie Madoffs of the Tennessee – of which there are almost 2 dozen caught so far- from being held responsible under the TN Consumer Protection Act. Rep. Stewart asked, and we’d like to know as well, 1) why we would want to dismantle the consumers most powerful tool in this state (esp. since it’s been working flawlessly since 1977) and 2) why we would take away one of the consumers best protections from these sorts of securities scams?
Rep. Dennis’ answer is very telling, and makes us ask once again, when will our state legislature start making hardworking Tennesseans, instead of special interest and big business, their #1 priority?
The bill is up next week on Tues, 4/26, in Senate Judiciary and we’re asking you to take action and call the members of the committee. (Get info to take action).
(Starts about 30 seconds in)