Arkansas Business, June 11, 2016
Advocates of capping noneconomic damage awards in lawsuits against health care providers have taken a new tack. They want to amend the Arkansas Constitution instead of making change through the Arkansas Legislature.
“Every time we wanted to do something legislatively, it wouldn’t go anywhere,” said Michael Morton of Fort Smith, an outspoken backer of the proposed amendment who operates 30 Arkansas nursing homes. “I’m tired of negotiating without getting anything accomplished. If people don’t like it, fine. If people like it, fine.”
Morton and other proponents want to put an “Amendment to Limit Attorney Contingency Fees and Non-Economic Damages in Medical Lawsuits” to a vote of the people. Canvassers are busy gathering signatures to put their proposal on the Nov. 8 ballot.
In addition to capping monetary awards for pain and suffering and other noneconomic damages at $250,000, the measure would limit contingency fees to 33.3 percent for lawyers suing doctors, clinics, hospitals and nursing homes.