Friday, April 1, 2016

Rutledge signs off on proposal to cap damages in medical lawsuits

Posted By on Fri, Apr 1, 2016 at 4:55 PM

DAN GREENBERG: He files an initiated act that nursing homes have long sought — a cap on damages in lawsuits over their negligence.
  • DAN GREENBERG: He files an initiated act that nursing homes have long sought — a cap on damages in lawsuits over their negligence.
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has found a ballot measure she likes:

She's approved a proposed initiated act by Dan Greenberg, a Little Rock lawyer and former state representative who runs a conservative advocacy organization, to put a cap on non-economic and punitive damages in medical injury lawsuits.

This is rich: Greenberg wanted the popular name of the measure to be The Arkansas Health Care Protection Amendment. Credit Rutledge for at least finding that was too partisan.

She said the popular name should be:

An Amendment to Limit Non-Economic and Punitive Damages in Civil Medical Care Cases
The meat of the amendment is in the title:

An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution providing that the Arkansas General Assembly shall enact laws which specify a maximum dollar amount award of non-economic damages in a civil action for medical injury brought against a health-care provider, as well as laws which specify a maximum ratio of punitive damages to compensatory damages in a civil action for medical injury brought against a health-care provider; defining “health-care provider,” “medical injury,” and “action for medical injury” for these purposes; providing that the General Assembly may, after these laws are enacted, amend either or both of them by a two-thirds vote of each house; and providing that this amendment does not supersede or amend the right to trial by jury.
Greenberg will find plenty of money — dark and otherwise — happy to get behind this idea. Nursing homes will line up first. Petitions with  67,887 signatures of registered voters must be submitted four months before the November general election to qualify for a vote. He could resubmit the proposal with a different popular name.

Michael Morton? Michael Morton?

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