Tort Limit Doubled in Assembly

January 27, 2003
Posted at: 3:55 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- A suggested bill that would limit damages in civil lawsuits was modified Monday to double the proposed cap.

Changes introduced at the Legislature would allow punitive damages in a court proceeding to reach $500,000. Initially, the so-called ``tort-limits bill'' would have limited punitive damages to $250,000.

Punitive damages are different from actual damages. Punitive damages can be imposed as an extra penalty against someone who loses a damage lawsuit. Sponsors of the tort-limits bill hope the higher punitive damage limit will make the bill more palatable to legislators.

They hope changes in the state's laws will slow down the rising costs of health care and health insurance by limiting awards in malpractice cases.

A full hearing on the proposed legislation is scheduled for Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee. A vote could come at the end of the session.

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