State Legal Round-Up

September 17, 2019

ISMIE routinely monitors legal happenings and legislative activities relating to lawsuits across the United States. Here’s the latest scoop!

Tennessee Circuit Court Judge Strikes Down Cap on Non-Economic Damages 

A circuit court judge in Tennessee’s Williamson County recently ruled that a cap on compensatory damages in civil cases is unconstitutional.

The legislation that created the cap, which was set at $750,000, passed during Tennessee’s 2011 legislative session. In ruling against the cap, the judge noted that the Tennessee Constitution declares “the right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate.” The case on which the judge ruled was not related to medical care.

The defendants have appealed, and another case challenging the constitutionality of the state’s cap on non-economic damages is already set to go before the Tennessee Supreme Court. ISMIE will keep policyholders informed of the outcome.

Kentucky Now Requires an Expert Opinion Before a Lawsuit Can Move Forward 

This year, Kentucky enacted legislation to require a qualified expert to weigh in before a lawsuit can move forward. 

Effective June 27, 2019, any civil action that is filed against a physician, surgeon, dentist, hospital or long-term care facility must include a certificate of merit to confirm that at least one expert was consulted. The expert must be qualified to give opinions about the standard of care or negligence in medical liability cases and conclude whether or not it is reasonable to continue with the lawsuit.

Certificate of merit laws are designed to reduce frivolous lawsuits; we hope to see favorable trends emerge as a result of this legislation.

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