Religious right group calls for compromise on damage lawsuit amendment | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Religious right group calls for compromise on damage lawsuit amendment

Posted By on Tue, Feb 21, 2017 at 7:29 AM

The Family Council, the religious right political lobby, has issued a statement urging its followers to oppose the so-called tort reform amendment to limit attorney fees and awards in damage lawsuits.

The Family Council said it has endorsed past efforts to put some limits on lawsuits, particularly in the case of medical malpractice, but this amendment goes too far.

In a statement from director Jerry Cox, the group said the amendment as written is good for businesses, hospitals and nursing homes.

On the other hand, SJR 8 is not a good law for nursing home residents at risk of being abused or neglected. Limiting how much juries can award in nursing home neglect cases makes it possible for nursing homes to cut staff, reduce care, and let patients suffer or die because the fear of a lawsuit is greatly reduced.

SJR 8 is not a good law for the stay-at-home mother who is disabled because someone is negligent. That’s because she has little income—a lot less economic value than the injured career-woman who can show a big paystub.

It is not a good law for a child who dies because someone administered the wrong medicine, once again, because children lack “economic” value. It is a bad law for the family killed by the careless driver of an eighteen-wheeler for all the above reasons. Why? Because SJR 8 sets a limit of $250,000 in noneconomic damages for an injury and $500,000 in cases of a death. It gives the legislature the power to restrict evidence that can be submitted in a personal-injury lawsuit. Without evidence, there is no case. 
The statement urges a vote against SJR 8 as written and suggests a more moderate proposal. The measure also sets a limit on punitive damages of $250,000 or three times compensatory damages. The amendment also removes court rulemaking from the sole jurisdiction of the Arkansas Supreme Court and puts it in the hands of the legislature. Further legislatures' ability to change the damage caps are limited by the amendment to inflationary changes only.

It's a mean amendment, essentially anti-life, which is likely a part of the Family Council's opposition. An official of Arkansas Right to Life has also expressed opposition to the amendment on that basis, saying it would encourage abortionists to locate in Arkansas. I doubt that, but if the state Constitution puts such a low value on life of those injured by corporate abuse and neglect it's a bit hypocritical for the same legislators  to wage war on abortion, assisted suicide and the like.

The depiction of the amendment as anti-life has drawn fierce reactions from legislative advocates, probably because it so appropriately stings.



Tags: , , ,


Favorite

Comments (8)

Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Two votes for older judges

    The Joint Retirement Committee this morning approved bills that would ease or remove an impediment to state judges continuing to serve after 70 years of age.
    • Mar 18, 2019
  • The latest on that vacant federal judgeship: Focus on a newcomer to Arkansas

    Donald Trump and the Republican Senate have speedily delivered huge numbers of extremist federal judges in two years, making all the more noticeable a lag in filling the opening on the federal Eastern District Court bench created by Judge Leon Holmes' retirement March 31, 2018, almost a year ago. Difficulties in clearing candidates have led now, the rumors go, to the choice of something of an outsider.
    • Mar 18, 2019
  • Legislators may dine free tonight at the Capital Hotel

    What? No free lunch on the schedule today? Not to worry. Legislators can load up on quality free eats and drinks tonight at the Capital Hotel.
    • Mar 18, 2019
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Sabin's subterfuge in the race for mayor has roots in rigged city government

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that an ethics complaint has been filed saying that the exploratory committee Rep. Warwick Sabin created to prepare for a run for Little Rock mayor was a subterfuge to avoid the city ordinance that doesn't allow campaign fundraising to begin until five months before the November 2018 election.Of course it is.
    • Aug 10, 2017
  • Use of solar on the rise in Arkansas

    With a pivotal ruling expected any day now from the Public Service Commission, Kyle Massey at Arkansas Business reports on the increase in Arkansans adding solar generation units on their homes and business.
    • Apr 13, 2018
  • Antwan Phillips wants to make a difference in reducing Little Rock violence

    KARK/Fox 16's push to do something about Little Rock violence includes a spotlight on people trying to make a difference — in this episode Antwan Phillips, a lawyer at Wright, Lindsey and Jennings.
    • Aug 30, 2017

Slideshows

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2019 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation