Bill Summary for H 542 (2011-2012)

Summary date: 

Jun 1 2011

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2011-2012 Session
House Bill 542 (Public) Filed Wednesday, March 30, 2011
TO PROVIDE TORT REFORM FOR NORTH CAROLINA CITIZENS AND BUSINESSES.
Intro. by Rhyne, McComas, Brisson, Crawford.

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Bill summary

House amendments make the following changes to 2nd edition. Amendment #1 amends Rule 414 to clarify that evidence offered to prove past medical expenses is limited to evidence of the amounts actually paid to satisfy bills that have been satisfied (was, all bills reasonably paid), and evidence of the amounts actually necessary to satisfy the bills that have been incurred but not yet satisfied. Makes a conforming change to GS 8-58.1, and provides that the testimony of a person under GS 8-58.1, as amended, establishes a rebuttable presumption of the reasonableness of the amount paid or required to be paid; provides instances in which the presumption is rebutted. States that the fact that a provider charged for services provided establishes a rebuttable presumption that the services were reasonably necessary.
Amendment # 2 amends proposed GS 99B-12 to provide the statute does not bar an action brought pursuant to Article 51 of GS Chapter 1, if the action is not based upon allegations that the product was not safe or effective or that the manufacturer failed to provide an adequate warning. Makes other clarifying and organizational changes.
Amendment #3 amends GS 6-21.1 to cap attorneys’ fees awarded under the statute at $10,000 (was, fees must not exceed the higher of $5,000 or 50% of the damages awarded).
Amendment #4 amends GS 99B-12, as amended, to create a rebuttable presumption that the drug alleged to cause harm in a product liability case was safe and effective for its approved use, and that the manufacturer or seller is not liable if the drug was approved by the FDA and had compliant labeling when the drug left control of the manufacturer or seller. Provides that this presumption is only rebuttable by clear and convincing evidence.
Amendment #5 deletes all previous amendments to GS 1D-25 concerning punitive damages awards over $100,000.
Amendment #7 amends GS 6-21.1 to provide that, along with other requirements, a judge may allow reasonable attorneys’ fees to the attorney representing the litigant, in certain cases, when the amount of damages recovered exceeds the highest offer made by the defendant no later than 30 days after the deadline for completion of court-ordered mediation, or no later than the earlier of either 180 days after the filing of the last responsive pleading or 90 days before commencement of the trial in cases where there is no court ordered mediation.
Amendment #8 amends Rule 414, as amended, to clarify that evidence presented to prove past medical expenses is limited to amounts actually paid to satisfy the bills, regardless of the source of payment. Clarifies that nothing in the rule modifies current law governing the admissibility of evidence relating to collateral sources of payments.

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