Press Releases

Passage of Haslam’s Tort Reform Means More Jobs, Fewer Lawsuits: TCPR

Press Release from the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, May 12, 2011:

Lawmakers Agree: Tennessee Needs More Jobs, Not More Lawsuits

NASHVILLE, TN – With bipartisan support, the 107th Tennessee General Assembly agreed that the Volunteer State needs more jobs, not more lawsuits, by passing the Tennessee Civil Justice Act of 2011.

The House voted 72-24 on Monday to pass the bill, and the Senate passed it this morning by a 21-12 vote. Governor Haslam is expected to sign the bill in the coming days, making the law effective October 1, 2011.

“Tennesseans spoke loud and clear to lawmakers that they were more interested in jobs than the status quo and an unpredictable civil justice system,” said Justin Owen, president of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, the organization that led the grassroots effort for change. “This reform allows for a much more balanced and just system, and one that attracts quality employers with much needed and competitively-paying jobs. The beneficiaries of reform include local economies, under and unemployed Tennesseans, uninsured families, communities underserved by doctors, and the list goes on. We applaud the Legislature for doing what’s right for Tennesseans.”

Highlights of the bill include:

  • There is no cap on economic damages such as medical bills, lost wages, job loss, property damage, and rehabilitation costs as a result of a tort action. These damages are considered measurable, provable and objectively quantifiable.
  • Subjective, non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, inconvenience, or humiliation, are capped at $750,000 cap per occurrence for medical liability actions and per plaintiff for non-medical actions.
  • There are higher caps in place for catastrophic events such as spinal cord injuries, extensive burn injuries, intent to injure and other specific circumstances.
  • Punitive damages are capped at the greater of $500,000 or twice all other damages.
  • Unless directly involved in the design and/or manufacturing of a product, sellers are no longer liable for punitive damages.
  • Unless the manufacturer withheld or omitted regulatory information, manufacturers are no longer liable for punitive damages as long as they were in regulatory compliance.

The Tennessee Center for Policy Research is an independent, nonprofit, and nonpartisan think tank committed to achieving a freer, more prosperous Tennessee. Through research and advocacy, the Center promotes policy solutions grounded in the principles of free markets, individual liberty, and limited government. For more information, visit

One reply on “Passage of Haslam’s Tort Reform Means More Jobs, Fewer Lawsuits: TCPR”

If medical professionals are given a needed break in law suites then Tennessee Citizens that are uninsured,on low, or fixed incomes, should be given an equal break in civil suites by these same medical professionals. Citizens are sued everyday for not being able to afford the deductibles on what insurance they have,or no insurance coverage.Many of these same folks have been denied Tenn Care for one reason or the other. There should be a law passed that makes it illegal for a Dr.or Medical Center to sue people who are in the class mentioned above.The state and federal governments don’t care to set income limits on Food Stamps,Tenn-Care and other help so why not give people the same protection against these harmful suites? I have heard of hospitals actually taking people’s farms for a bad debt.This is not right! Just something for everyone to think about!

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