What Would a Republican Controlled Mississippi House of Representatives Mean for the Legal Profession in Mississippi?
: Mississippi Litigation Review & Commentary: www.mslitigationreview.com/2011/08/articles/politi…ippi-
Mississippians will go to the polls in November to decide State House of Representative races. The results of those races will determine whether the House will be majority Democrat, with a Democratic speaker, or majority Republican with a Republican speaker. The election will likely have a profound affect on the future of the legal profession in Mississippi.
Today’s Wall Street Journal reports:
The Republican Party has launched a major push to capture the Mississippi House of Representatives this fall, a goal that has eluded it since Reconstruction and that would remove nearly every vestige of Democratic control from the state’s government.
Mississippi enacted tort reform in 2004 that placed a $1 million cap on non-economic damages. The State previously capped ($500,000) non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases—and the statute defines medical malpractice broadly.
It’s my understanding that since 2004, Republican legislators have continued to propose bills to further restrict individuals’ access to justice in the court system. Specific examples that I’ve heard were proposals to:
reduce the non-economic damages cap to $250,000 in all cases;
eliminate a private right of action for bad faith denial of an insurance claim; [can you imagine what would happen after the next hurricane if this passed?];
eliminate the right to sue pharmaceutical companies for defective drugs if the FDA approved the drug; and
basically eliminating the right to sue for injuries caused by defective products [you couldn’t with a $250,000 cap anyway].
There are political observers in Mississippi who believe that if Republicans gain control of the House, then the legislature will enact some or all of these measures.
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