Legislature(1993 - 1994)

01/27/1994 03:00 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  HB 292 - CIVIL LIABILITY                                                     
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON explained that Rep. Porter would outline the                 
  proposed amendments to HB 292.  He then explained the                        
  contents of the bill's back-up material.                                     
  Number 324                                                                   
  REP. PORTER stated that Amendment 1 was written to move the                  
  obligation of reporting to the legislature on the status of                  
  the civil justice system in the state from the Attorney                      
  Generals Office to the Division of Insurance.                                
  REP. PORTER stated that Amendment 2 was the statute of                       
  repose on product liability, construction, personal injury,                  
  etc.  This amendment provides an exception to the statute of                 
  repose for persons who have not reached the age of majority.                 
  REP. PORTER explained that Amendment 3 responds to the                       
  concern brought up in testimony.  It clarifies when the                      
  legislature meant for the six years limitation to start                      
  running.  This amendment clearly states it is when the                       
  product is first used for its intended purpose.                              
  Number 360                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON inquired whether or not it would be wise to                  
  insert some language addressing faulty maintenance or repair                 
  of a product.                                                                
  REP. PORTER responded that he believed repair and                            
  maintenance were one and the same.                                           
  Number 490                                                                   
  REP. PORTER stated that Amendment 4 relates to the statute                   
  of limitations on the actions of health care providers.  The                 
  amendment also addresses medical practice parameters.  Rep.                  
  Porter explained that throughout the statute of limitations                  
  the bill has included exemptions for persons who are                         
  incompetent or are victims of child sexual assault.                          
  REP. PORTER stated that Amendment 5 was moot.                                
  Number 610                                                                   
  REP. PORTER introduced Amendment 6.  This amendment responds                 
  to testimony of victim advocates and the criminal justice                    
  system that some crimes are so heinous that it would be                      
  appropriate to lift the cap on non-economic damages in the                   
  cases where the defendant was convicted of a class A or                      
  unclassified felony.                                                         
  TAPE 94-4, SIDE B                                                            
  Number 001                                                                   
  REP. PORTER explained that Amendment 7 was drafted to expand                 
  the definition of punitive damages.  During the testimony                    
  the plaintiff's attorneys stated that the standard set of                    
  "malicious and conscious acts" was too high and would be                     
  virtually impossible to meet.  The amendment deletes the                     
  word "and" and insert "or."                                                  
  Number 055                                                                   
  REP. PORTER explained that tort actions and awards are given                 
  to help victims of wrongdoers whole again.  There is some                    
  concern that the awards sometimes make people more than                      
  "whole."  Amendment 8 would address this concern by adding                   
  language that says the amount of economic damages awarded                    
  for past or future gross earnings shall be reduced by the                    
  amount of federal and state income tax that would have been                  
  paid on the earnings under tax rates in effect on the date                   
  of the injury or death.                                                      
  Number 100                                                                   
  REP. PORTER introduced Amendment 9 and explained that HB 292                 
  allows for periodic payments, and this amendment directs the                 
  court to require security to be posted by the company to                     
  ensure that they can provide the periodic payment over the                   
  time period covered.                                                         
  Number 188                                                                   
  REP. PORTER offered Amendment 10 and explained that it has                   
  two main elements:  1) collateral benefits and 2)                            
  subrogation of awards.  This amendment would allow juries to                 
  receive information during a trial regarding collateral                      
  benefits, or compensation received from other sources on the                 
  same claim.  The amendment would also preclude the victim's                  
  insurance company from filing to get part of the victim's                    
  award to make up for money it may have paid out in health                    
  care costs.                                                                  
  Number 320                                                                   
  REP. PORTER stated that Amendment 11 replaces the word                       
  "pecuniary" with "economic."                                                 
  Number 350                                                                   
  REP. PORTER offered Amendment 12 and explained that the                      
  intent is to discourage species lawsuits by allowing the                     
  court to sanction.                                                           
  Number 365                                                                   
  REP. MACKIE clarified that the sanctions would be against                    
  the attorney of record, not the client.                                      
  Number 368                                                                   
  REP. PORTER nodded agreement.                                                
  Number 370                                                                   
  REP. PORTER raised the question of whether or not this                       
  section regarding court rules actually has the effect of                     
  amending the court rules or if the legislature would be                      
  borrowing the language the court rule states and putting it                  
  in statute.                                                                  
  Number 400                                                                   
  MR. FORD stated that the philosophy Legal Services usually                   
  adopts in approaching court rules is a conservative one.                     
  Mr. Ford added that both Court Rules 11 and 82 have been                     
  cited in the HB 292 to be safe.                                              
  Number 420                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON said that the committee now has a series of                  
  twelve amendments that are the product of testimony from all                 
  sides of the issue that provides a balanced approach that                    
  leans towards the injured party.  Chairman Hudson further                    
  stated that HB 292 was brought before the body in the first                  
  place to try and reduce the cost and litigation while still                  
  protecting victim's rights.                                                  
  Number 502                                                                   
  REPS. WILLIAMS and GREEN expressed concern over the apparent                 
  lack of time to produce a committee substitute and get it to                 
  the committee, as well as various interested parties by the                  
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON responded that he felt confident staff could                 
  produce a committee substitute in time for members to take                   
  it home by the weekend.                                                      
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON adjourned the meeting at 4:30 p.m.                           

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