Thompson on Torts: Haslam Bill ‘Killing a Mouse With a Bazooka’

Former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson, serving as a lobbyist, told a House subcommittee Wednesday that enacting Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposed tort reform bill would amount to “killing a mouse with a bazooka.”
The lawyer and actor was one of several witnesses testifying both for and against HB2008. No vote was taken, but the panel will consider the bill against next week.
Among those testifying for the bill was Charlie Ross, a Mississippi lawyer who as a state senator led tort reform efforts in that state. He said Mississippi was a “judicial hell hole” before reform with limits on non-economic damages and now is attracting more business investment because of predictability in outcome of lawsuits.
But Thompson said predictability is not in the public interest. He cited examples of a teenage girl dying after being given five times the normal dose of drugs for a tonsil removal and a tractor-trailer that crashed into a parked car, burning to death a mother and her daughter.
“I don’t think anesthetists or the people who change tires on 18-wheelers… ought to have predictability,” he said. “I think they out to think, ‘If I don’t exercise a reasonable amount of care, I don’t know what a Tennessee jury is going to do’.”

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