2020 Tort Reform Records
2020 Highlights Louisiana 2020 – HB 57 (special session) Provides
2020 – HB 57 (special session)
Provides that in cases where a claimant’s medical expenses have been paid, in whole or in part, by a health insurance issuer or Medicare to a medical provider, the claimant’s recovery of medical expenses is limited to the amount actually paid to the medical provider by the health insurance issuer or Medicare, and any applicable cost sharing amounts paid or owed by the claimant, and not the amount billed. Provides that the court shall award 40% of the difference between the amount billed and the amount actually paid to the contracted medical provider by a health insurance issuer or Medicare in consideration of the plaintiff’s cost of procurement provided that this amount shall not make the award unreasonable. Provides that in cases where a claimant’s medical expenses have been paid, in whole or in part, by Medicaid to a medical provider, the claimant’s recovery of medical expenses paid by Medicaid is limited to the amount actually paid to the medical provider by Medicaid, and any applicable cost sharing amounts paid or owed by the claimant, and not the amount billed. Provides that the recovery of any other past medical expenses shall be limited to amounts paid to a medical provider by or on behalf of the claimant, and amounts remaining owed to a medical provider, including medical expenses secured by a contractual or statutory privilege, lien, or guarantee. Provides that in cases where a claimant’s medical expenses are paid pursuant to the La. Workers’ Compensation Law (LWC), a claimant’s recovery of medical expenses is limited to the amount paid under the medical payments fee schedule of the LWC. Provides that in a jury trial, only after a jury verdict is rendered may the court receive evidence related to the limitations of recoverable past medical expenses paid by a health insurance issuer or Medicare. The jury shall be informed only of the amount billed by a medical provider for medical treatment. Whether any person, health insurance issuer, or Medicare has paid or has agreed to pay, in whole or in part, any of a claimant’s medical expenses shall not be disclosed to the jury. In trial to the court alone, the court may consider such evidence. The bill does not apply in medical malpractice claims or in claims brought pursuant to the Governmental Claims Act.
2020 – SB 224
Provides that punitive damages shall only be awarded if the plaintiff proves by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant intentionally harmed the plaintiff without just cause or acted with a deliberate and flagrant disregard for the safety of others, and the plaintiff is awarded more than nominal damages. Punitive damages may be awarded against an employer due to an employee’s conduct in certain situations, as provided in the act. When an employer admits liability for the actions of an agent in a claim for compensatory damages, the court shall grant limited discovery consisting only of employment records and documents or information related to the agent’s qualifications.
A claim for punitive damages shall not be contained in the initial pleading and may only be filed as a written motion with permission of the court no later than 120 days prior to the final pretrial conference or trial date. The written motion for punitive damages must be supported by evidence. The amount of punitive damages shall not be based on harm to nonparties. A pleading seeking a punitive damage award may be filed only after the court determines that the trier of fact could reasonably conclude that the standards for a punitive damage award, as provided in the act, have been met. The responsive pleading shall be limited to a response of the newly amended punitive damages claim.
The legislation provides that the defendant may also be credited for punitive damages paid in a federal court.
These provisions shall not apply to claims for unlawful housing practices under the Missouri Human Rights Act.
Modifies the definition of “punitive damages” as it relates to actions for damages against a health care provider for personal injury or death caused by the rendering of health care services. In order to be awarded punitive damages, the jury must find by clear and convincing evidence that the health care provider intentionally caused damage or demonstrated malicious misconduct. Evidence of negligence, including indifference or conscious disregard for the safety of others, does not constitute intentional conduct or malicious misconduct.
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