Comprehensive Tort Reform Measure Moves to Oklahoma House

February 25, 2009

A comprehensive lawsuit reform package seeking to reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits in Oklahoma passed House Committee and now moves to the full House of Representatives.

The legislation includes a full slate of lawsuit reform similar to a bill Gov. Brad Henry vetoed in 2007.

Rep. Dan Sullivan, R-Tulsa, author of House Bill 1603, said he intends to continue to advance a slate of lawsuit reform bills in the hope that Oklahoma can pass meaningful lawsuit reform.

The bill would cap non-economic damages; require an expert witness for pre-certification of a lawsuit; and eliminate joint and several liability, among other reforms.

One significant change to the bill is in the area of collateral sources. This bill would exempt payments made by life insurance or disability insurance as compensation that would have to be introduced as evidence. It also makes clear that a plaintiff only must disclose the amount of medical bills that have been paid by health insurance carriers.

House Speaker Chris Benge has said lawsuit reform is one of the top priorities for House Republicans this legislative session.

Sullivan’s bill passed the House Judiciary Committee with a vote of 8-3.

Source: Oklahoma House of Representatives

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