Bill Summary for S 33 (2011-2012)

Summary date: 

Apr 19 2011

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2011-2012 Session
Senate Bill 33 (Public) Filed Wednesday, February 2, 2011
TO REFORM THE LAWS RELATING TO MEDICAL LIABILITY BY PROVIDING LIMITED PROTECTION FROM LIABILITY TO THOSE PROVIDING EMERGENCY MEDICAL CARE, BY AUTHORIZING THE BIFURCATION OF TRIALS ON ISSUES OF LIABILITY AND DAMAGES IN CERTAIN ACTIONS, BY LIMITING THE AMOUNT OF NONECONOMIC DAMAGES THAT MAY BE AWARDED, BY AUTHORIZING THE PERIODIC PAYMENT OF FUTURE ECONOMIC DAMAGES IN LIEU OF A LUMP-SUM PAYMENT, AND BY MODIFYING APPEAL BONDS IN MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ACTIONS. This act is effective October 1, 2011.
Intro. by Apodaca, Brown, Rucho.

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Bill summary

House committee substitute makes the following changes to 3rd edition.
Amends GS 1A-1, Rule 42(b), clarifying that the court must order separate trials for the issue of liability and the issue of damages, upon motion by any party in an action in tort (rather than a medical malpractice action) where the plaintiff seeks damages exceeding $150,000 (rather than an amount equal to or exceeding $75,000). Amends GS 1A-1, Rule 9(j), deleting the requirement that the plaintiff provide an affidavit from the expert witness to the defendant, and restores language requiring the plaintiff to show compliance with up to ten written interrogatories. Makes clarifying changes. Adds a section amending GS 8C-702(h), prohibiting a person from giving expert testimony in a medical malpractice action on the appropriate standard of care as to administrative or other nonclinical issues unless the person has substantial knowledge, as specified (strengthens current language). Makes a clarifying change. Adds a section amending GS 90-21.11 to clarify definitions for health care provider and medical malpractice action; applies to causes of action arising on or after October 1, 2011.
Amends GS 90-21.12, adding that a claimant must prove a violation of the standard of health care by clear and convincing evidence in any medical malpractice action arising out of the provision or failure to provide professional services in a hospital emergency room. Clarifies that, in the case of a medical malpractice action, the defendant health care provider will not be liable for the payment of damages unless the trier of fact finds by the greater weight of the evidence that the provider’s action or inaction did not comply with the standards of practice among similar health care providers situated in the same or similar communities under the same or similar circumstances at the time of the alleged act (was, unless the trier of fact finds that the provider’s deviation from the standard of care constituted gross negligence, wanton conduct, or intentional wrongdoing). Makes clarifying changes. Applies to causes of action arising on or after October 1, 2011.
Amends proposed GS 90-21.19, clarifying that the total amount of noneconomic damages for which judgment is entered against all defendants will not exceed $500,000 (was, will not exceed $500,000 per plaintiff). Deletes language prohibiting a judgment against any defendant in excess of $500,000 for all claims brought by all parties arising from the same cause of action. Makes organizational changes.
Adds a new section to enact new subsection (c) to GS 1-17, providing that an action for a minor with injuries allegedly resulting from malpractice will commence as detailed in GS 1-15(c), except as specified. Makes a conforming change. Applies to causes of action arising on or after October 1, 2011.
Deletes amendments to GS 1A-1, Rule 26(f1), which pertained to expert witnesses in medical malpractice discovery conferences.
Changes the bill title to AN ACT TO REFORM THE LAWS RELATING TO MONEY JUDGMENT APPEAL BONDS, BIFURCATION OF TRIALS IN CIVIL CASES, AND MEDICAL LIABILITY. Makes organizational changes.
Effective October 1, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, and applicable to actions commenced on or after that date.

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