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Haslam’s Tort Reform Bill Clears First Hurdle

Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposal for limiting damages that can be awarded against negligent businesses and health professionals made its first step through the Legislature’s committee system on Wednesday.
The House Judiciary Subcommittee approved the HB2008 on a voice vote with no discussion and no consideration of amendments other than adopting one prepared by the Haslam administration. The panel had held extensive hearings on the measure at two earlier meetings.
The Haslam amendment, as adopted, makes several changes in the orginal bill. Perhaps most notably, the maximum award of non-economic damages is increased from $750,000 to $1 million and declares that no cap will apply in cases where the defendant intentionally tried to harm the victim.
An earlier draft of the Haslam amendment had proposed raising the maximum level of non-economic damages to $1.25 million.
The bill now goes to the full House Judiciary Committee, where further amendments may be considered.