Tort Limit Debate Heats Up

January 28, 2003
Posted at: 6:53 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- A state representative made his argument Tuesday that economic development hinges on passing a bill to limit punitive damages in civil lawsuits.

Representative Danny Ferguson of Forrest City and other supporters of the bill say tort limits will help control the cost of health care and health insurance in the state.

Trial lawyers oppose the bill, and argue that it would benefit large corporations and insurance companies at the expense of injured parties. The bill would limit damages to $500,000. It also calls for the cap amount to be adjusted every three years, starting in 2006.

Fort Smith lawyer Joey McCutchen told legislators that juries should be trusted to set damages. He noted that juries decide whether criminal suspects should get the death penalty.