Thursday, March 3, 2011



(Contacts you can call are the end)

SB 0238
HB 0286
Jobs Creation Lawsuit Reform Act. Defines "health care provider" and "health care liability action". Requires that compensation for reasonable attorney's fees, in the event an employment contract exists between the claimant and claimant's attorney, be awarded to the claimant's attorney in a health care liability action in an amount to be determined by the court with consideration to established limitations. Broadly captioned. (S: Kelsey; H: Dennis)

SB 0249
Johnson J.
HB 0183
Tort Reform- Medical Malpractice & Products Liability. Creates the Private Attorney Retention Sunshine Act which requires state agencies obtaining legal services to conduct an open bidding process for services, seek general assembly approval for contracts over $1,000,000, and prohibits legal fees exceeding $1,000 per hour. Creates the Asbestos Claims Priority Act which prohibits the filing of specific asbestosis related claims including nonmalignant conditions, asbestos related cancer, mesothelioma, and wrongful death unless specific and enumerated prima facie evidence is shown by medical report and filed within 120 days of filing the complaint. Restricts premises owner liability for asbestos exposure on their property, and limits jurisdiction of Tennessee courts over asbestos claims. Creates the Innocent Successor Asbestos-Related Liability Fairness Act. Sets a maximum amount of liability placed on corporations that have incurred or assumed asbestos related liability as a result of a merger or consolidation prior to January 1, 1972. Redefines and expands the definition and requirements of a products liability claim including what constitutes defective and unreasonably dangerous, the burden of proof, requisite knowledge of both the plaintiff and the defendant, actions or knowledge by the plaintiff that absolve a defendant of liability, seller versus manufacturer liability, and seller indemnity. Creates a rebuttable presumption that when a seller or manufacturer is in compliance with applicable federal law a product is not considered to be defective. Replaces the term "Medical malpractice" with "Health care liability action" which clarifies the cause of action as limited to any civil action against a health care provider alleging injury related to the provision or failure to provide health care. Requires, rather than permits, a plaintiff in a health care liability action to include a demand for a specific sum in their complaint and limits suits against attorneys for failure to collect the demanded amount. Requires that a plaintiff file a HIPPA- complaint medical authorization form with their petition in a health care liability action. Allows an award of $75,000 or more in a health care liability action be made in periodic payments per court order and by party request. Restricts the amount of fees an attorney can collect in a health care liability action when employment contract was based on a contingent fee from a maximum of thirty three and one third percent of the damage award to various percentages based on the recovery amount, starting with forty percent of the first $50,000. Requires, subject to judicial waiver, an expert witness to have been practicing in the same specialty as the defendant to testify to duty and breach in a health care liability action. Prohibits specific expressive conduct and offers to correct from being used as evidence of an admission of fault against health care providers in suits and other disciplinary proceedings concerning unexpected results from medical treatment. Limits the amount of bond or other security a health care provider must post when an appeal is pending to no more than $1,000,000. Clarifies that groups qualifying as medical or peer review committees that provide review for the professional conduct and competency of peers are not limited to those listed in the code. Places the maximum amount of noneconomic damages recoverable under a civil action at $250,000 per person, $500,000 per occurrence, or a specified number based on the amount of full-time employees the defendant employs and restricts the award of punitive damages for claims involving drugs and devices. Redefines economic damages to include provisions regarding expenses forgiven, discounted, or covered by private insurance. Requires the plaintiff to show an actual out- of -pocket loss to recover any damages and prove causation in a suit for unfair or deceptive acts or practices. (pp 40.) (S: Johnson J.; H: Sargent)

SB 0250
Johnson J.
HB 0182
Changes to venue, damages, and certain civil actions. Specifies that venue in transitory civil actions may be in a county where a substantial act, omission, or event allegedly occurred, instead of where the action arose. Specifies that venue for corporations in transitory civil actions may be in a county where the principal place of business is located. Removes venue for corporations within counties where the corporation has an office or agency located. Requires that each joined plaintiff must independently establish venue. Requires courts to dismiss certain claims, instead of adjudicating under forum non conveniens. Requires courts to consider certain factors when considering to dismiss an action or transfer venue under forum non conveniens. Specifies that it is a Class A misdemeanor to prevent a juror from serving jury duty or to require a juror to use annual, vacation, or sick leave to respond to a summons. Alters joint and several liability on multiple tortfeasors. Caps noneconomic damages at 500,000 dollars in medical malpractice lawsuits. Alters product liability actions to require the plaintiff to prove certain additional evidence, allow the product seller to be indemnified by the manufacturer in certain situations. Caps noneconomic damages at 1,000,000 dollars on all civil actions. Prohibits property owners or occupants from liability regarding certain injuries to independent contractors occurring on the property. Specifies how and when punitive damages can be awarded in certain actions. Caps punitive damages in certain actions at an amount depending on the defendant's net worth. (15 pp.) (S: Johnson J.; H: Sargent)

SB 0360
Johnson J.
HB 0174
Medical malpractice resulting from emergency care. Establishes new requirements for medical malpractice actions in an emergency department of a hospital. Establishes the claimant has the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, the gross negligence of the defendant. Requires the jury to be further instructed that injury alone does not raise a presumption of the defendant's gross negligence. (S: Johnson J.; H: Casada)

SB 0386
HB 0363
Jobs Creation Lawsuit Reform Act. Enacts the "Jobs Creation Lawsuit Reform Act." Caps the reasonable attorney fees in medical liability/malpractice actions to 40 percent of the first 50,000 dollars in damages recovered, 33 and one-third percent of the next $50,000 in damages recovered, 25 percent of the next $500,000 in damages recovered, and 15 percent of any amount by which the recovery exceeds $600,000. (Broadly captioned.) (S: Kelsey; H: Dennis)

SB 0694
HB 1157
Death or adverse condition would have occurred anyway. Prohibits recovery in a medical malpractice case for negligent diagnosis or treatment that decreases a patient's chances of avoiding death or any other adverse medical condition where the death or other adverse medical condition would have occurred even if the defendant had not been negligent. Broadly captioned. (S: Faulk; H: Dennis)

SB 0696
HB 1018
Punitive damages in civil actions. Declares as reasonable attorney's fees of up to one-third the amount of a punitive damages award. Requires that any award of punitive damages in a civil action be divided equally between the plaintiff and the state. Specifies that the state's portion may be applied as an offset against the amount of fees charged the state and that moneys beyond that will be deposited in a civil reparations trust fund, to provide grants to indigent civil litigation programs. Defers collection of punitive damages until all other judgments in a civil action are fully paid. Broadly captioned. (S: Faulk; H: Lundberg)

SB 0938
HB 1152
Tort reform regarding punitives, noneconomic losses. Caps noneconomic losses at 250,000 dollars against each defendant or maximum of 500,000 dollars for each occurrence. Specifies that noneconomic losses do not include medical expenses, lost past or future wages or earnings capacity, other loss of income, funeral and burial expenses, economic value of services performed, or other similar actual monetary losses. Caps punitive damages at the greater of 250,000 dollars or twice the amount of compensatory damages, if the defendant employs more than 100 full-time employees. Caps punitive damages at the lesser of 250,000 dollars or twice the amount of compensatory damages, if the defendant employs 100 full-time employees or less. Specifies that such caps on punitive damages does not apply to certain actions. Specifies that each monetary figure will be adjusted at three-year intervals according to the Consumer Price Index rate. Specifies that such punitive damages caps do not apply to certain tort actions involving intentional or knowing mental states and when the defendant has been convicted of a felony that has one of the intentional or knowing mental states. Prohibits punitive damages in cases where the injury was caused by a drug or device that was approved by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act or the Federal Public Health Service Act or was an over-the-counter drug marketed according to federal regulation and the drug meets other conditions. Places the burden on plaintiffs seeking to prove discrimination in employment or retaliatory discharge at various levels regarding certain issues throughout the trial process. (S: Kelsey; H: Dennis)

Senate Status: Referred to Senate Judiciary.
House Status: Introduced 2/17/2011

SB 1522
HB 2008
Tennessee Civil Justice Act of 2011. Enacts the "Tennessee Civil Justice Act of 2011." Specifies new venue requirements for any civil suit against a company to no longer include any county in which the business has an agency or office. Reduces from $75,000,000 to $25,000,000 the maximum bond a civil litigant must post to appeal a final order and stay execution of the order while on appeal. Establishes a normal rule requiring bond equal to 125% of the judgment, excludes punitive damages from the calculation of the bond amount and provides for an appeal without the risk of bankruptcy. Clarifies that a civil plaintiff may recover for economic losses incurred but not for charges subject to discounts or forgiveness of such health care charges that would be discounted under a health care plan. Limits non-economic damages to $750,000 per injured plaintiff outside of the health care liability action context and $750,000 per occurrence in the health care liability action context. Provides limits for punitive damages at two times compensatory damages or $500,000 whichever is greater. Prevents punitive damages in products liability actions when the defendant complied with state and federal regulations. Limits liability of a seller of a product except in certain specific circumstances. Enables interlocutory appeal of orders granting or denying class certification and automatic stays. (Part of Administration Package) (13 pp.) (S: Norris; H: McCormick)

SB 1322
Johnson J.
HB 1848
Study - impact of tort reform on anticompetitive activities. Creates an advisory council to study the potential impact of tort reform measures on anticompetitive activities engaged in by hospitals, insurance companies and health care professionals and whether or not such impact, if any, would increase or decrease the overall cost of healthcare in this state. (S: Johnson J.; H: Sexton)

SB 0639
Johnson J.
HB 0384
Successful parties in civil actions entitled to full costs. Clarifies that successful parties to a civil action are entitled to full costs unless the law states otherwise. Abolishes the use of judicial discretion to adjudge costs or apportion the cost between litigants in a civil action. (S: Johnson J.; H: Marsh)

SB 0651
HB 1156
Apportioning litigation costs in certain suits. Removes judicial discretion to apportion costs based on equity and permits recovery of certain litigation costs by the successful party to certain civil actions. Broadly captioned. (S: Campfield; H: Dennis)

SB 1807
Johnson J.
HB 1861
Frivolous appeals - awarding of fees. State Summary: As introduced, allows a reviewing court to award an appellee's attorneys' fees and related filing costs if the court determines that an appeal is frivolous or taken solely for delay. - Amends TCA Title 16; Title 25 and Title 27. (S: Johnson J.; H: Sargent)

House Judiciary:


Eric Watson (R) Cleveland – 201 WMB -615-741-7799 –

Jim Coley (R) Bartlett – 207 WMB - 615-741-8201 –

Vance Dennis (R) Savannah – 209 A WMB – 615-741-2190 –


Eddie Bass (D) Prospect – 109 WMB – 615-741-1864 –

Karen Camper (D) Memphis – 20 LP – 615-741-1898 –

Linda Elam (R) Mt. Juliet – 212 WMB – 615-741-7462 –

Jeremy Faison (R) Cosby – 202 WMB – 615-741-6871 –

Jim Gotto (R) Nashville – 205 WMB – 615-741-6959 –

Jon Lundburg (R) Bristol – 20 LP – 615-741-7623 –

Debra Maggart (R) Hendersonville – 114 WMB – 615-741-3893 –

Judd Matheny (R) Tullahoma – 15 LP – 615-741-7448 –

Gary Moore (D) Joelton – 35 LP – 615-741-4317 –

Barrett Rich (R) Somerville - 117 WMB – 615-741-8690 –

Janis Sontany (D) Nashville – 23 LP – 615-741-6862 –

Mike Stewart (D) Nashville – 24 LP – 615-741-2184 –

Rick Womick (R) Murfreesboro - 207 WMB – 615-741-2804 –