TENNESSEE CITIZEN ACTION ASKS GOVERNOR HASLAM TO FOCUS ON THE NEGATIVE EFFECTS CAPS ON DAMAGES HAVE ON HARDWORKING TENNESSEANS
Nashville, Tenn. (March 23, 2011) — In the House Judiciary committee late this afternoon, testimony was presented on behalf of Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s “Tennessee Civil Justice Act of 2011,” which would cap medical malpractice damages at $750,000. Unfortunately, the testimony continued with an all-too common theme of catering to large corporations at the expense of hardworking Tennesseans.
“Herbert Slatery, the Governor’s counsel, said that unemployment in Tennessee is really bad and we agree,” said Mary Mancini, executive director of Tennessee Citizen Action, “But all his remarks were about what’s beneficial to large corporations. Not once did he mention the real human impact the Governor’s bill would have on the hardworking people of the state.”
Earlier in the day, Tennessee Citizen Action directed a press conference in which the impact of the bill was discussed by the family members of victims of medical malpractice and nursing homes abuse. The constant refrain from these brave family members was that caps on damages would remove the most important reason they had for filing suit: to deter fraudulent and abusive business practices so that what happened to their loved ones never happens again.
In his remarks, Mr. Slatery, said also said that the litigation risk is a factor in businesses decision to move here. But it is widely known that since 2008 when a unique Tennessee solution was put in place to make it more difficult to file non-meritorious claims, there has been a 44% decline in the number of medical malpractice lawsuits filed.
Tennessee Citizen Action believes that businesses are run by intelligent people who will be attracted to the state because they can see that, one, we are not known for excessive jury awards and, two, we already have a solution in place that streamlines the process in malpractice suits and weeds out non-meritorious claims. But most importantly, businesses will be attracted to the state when we begin to treat it’s people as it’s number one priority, producing a well-educated and highly motivated workforce that stands on a firm foundation of a well-developed public infrastructure.