Sunday, July 12, 2020

Louisiana approves tort reform bill -- UPDATED

About two weeks ago, the Louisiana legislature passed a tort reform bill that the Governor said he would sign, (after he had vetoed an earlier version).

The bill, which appears to be explicitly designed to favor the auto insurance industry adopts a limitation of the collateral source rule, removes the ban on mentioning whether a plaintiff was wearing a seat belt, limits when an insurance company's name can be mentioned in court, and reduces the threshold for jury trials from $50,000 to $10,000.

The first two measures are common in tort reform bills, but the measure related to the jury is strange because usually juries are thought of being more generous that judges when calculating damages.  It is not clear, why a tort reform bill designed to favor defendants tries to expand the number of cases that will be tried by juries.

Like most, if not all, tort reform bills, this one fails to address the real issue.  The bill is supposed to help lower car insurance rates, but  instead of drafting a bill that regulates those rates, the legislature drafted a bill to help insurance companies make more money while doing nothing to lower the bills.  I suppose it remains to be seen what will happen but more than likely, the consumers will get screwed twice: the insurance rates will remain the same (or continue to rise), and the injured victims will get lower compensation....  unless they miscalculated the gamble on whether juries will be less generous.

The TortsProf blog has more on the story here.

UPDATE 8/2/20: The Governor signed the bill....  Story here.

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