Bill Summary for H 542 (2011-2012)

Summary date: 

May 10 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 committee substitute makes the following changes to 1st edition. Amends Article 4 of GS Chapter 8C by rewriting Rule 414 to clarify that the rule does not impose an affirmative duty to seek a reduction in billed charges to which a party is not contractually entitled, and deletes language stating that evidence of source of payment and rights of subrogation related to a payment are admissible. Amends GS 8-58.1 to delete a provision stating that the testimony of a specified person establishes a rebuttable presumption of the reasonableness of the amount of the charges. Amends GS 1D-25(d)(2) by clarifying that 75% of the amount over $100,000, less a proportionate part of the costs of litigation, including reasonable attorneys’ fees, be remitted to the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund, and adds language to instruct the jury of the provisions of subsection (d) before the jury begins its deliberations.
Amends GS 99B-12 by clarifying that no manufacturer or seller of drugs is liable in any product liability action if the drug alleged to have caused harm was approved for safety and efficacy by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and its labeling was in compliance with the FDA’s approval at the time the drug left the control of the manufacturer or seller. Deletes proposed subsection (c) of GS 99B-12, which stated that the statute does not expand authority or affect liability, as specified.
Amends GS 6-21.1 to clarify that where there was an unwarranted refusal by the defendant to negotiate or pay the claim that is the basis for the suit, the amount of damages is $20,000 (was, $15,000) or less, and the damages recovered exceed the highest offer made by the defendant 30 days or more before the start of the trial (previously no time limit), then the presiding judge may, at the judge’s discretion, allow reasonable attorneys’ fees to the duly licensed attorney representing the litigant obtaining a judgment for damages in the lawsuit. Makes a conforming change.
Amends proposed GS 38B-3(2) by adding the following additional element which must be present for a possessor of land to be liable for the bodily injury or death of trespassing children resulting from an artificial condition of the land: the utility of maintaining the condition and the burden of eliminating the danger were slight as compared with the risk to the child. Adds new subdivision (3) to GS 38B-3 to provide, as an exception to the general rule, that a possessor of land may be liable for the physical injury or death of a trespasser if the possessor discovers the trespasser in a position of peril or helplessness on the property and fails to exercise ordinary care not to injure the trespasser.
Deletes other provisions of previous edition with the exception of amendments to GS 8C-702(a), GS 99B-1, and proposed GS Chapter 38B. Makes other clarifying changes.

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