Mississippi passes tort reform

Following hard-fought political battles, the Mississippi legislature has passed and sent to Gov. Haley Barbour for his signature a wide-ranging bill limiting liability lawsuits. It includes a $500,000 limit on pain-and-suffering awards in medical malpractice cases, and $1 million in other cases; punitive damage caps; venue reform; joint and several liability limitation; relief of premises owners from liability to contractors’ employees for hazards known to the contractor; and product liability relief for “innocent sellers”. In recent years Mississippi has sometimes been charged with having a legal system more tilted against civil defendants than that of any other state; the new law is likely to help ameliorate that image. (Julie Finley, “Doctors praise tort bill passage”, Natchez Democrat, Jun. 3; overview of H.B. 13 at Mississippi Economic Council site; “Barbour touts tort reforms in D.C., N.Y.”, Jackson Clarion-Ledger, Jun. 10; American Tort Reform Association press release, Jun. 4). For a few highlights from our coverage of the Magnolia State, see May 15, Apr. 30, Dec. 12, Nov. 16, Nov. 12, Oct. 3, Aug. 19, Jul. 1, and Jun. 29, among many others.

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