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Background: Oklahoma lawsuit reform measure tossed out

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the Comprehensive Lawsuit Reform Act of 2009 is unconstitutional.
Modified: June 4, 2013 at 9:11 pm •  Published: June 5, 2013
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Background

What did measure deal with?

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the Comprehensive Lawsuit Reform Act of 2009 is unconstitutional. Among other things, the measure, House Bill 1603, dealt with how lawsuits are treated in court cases ranging from personal injury to medical malpractice. The measure was intended to help curb frivolous lawsuits and reduce costs associated with the justice system.

Among other things it required that:

• Cases alleging negligence by a physician must be proven by “clear and convincing evidence.”

• When the settlement is coupons, the attorney shall receive the fee in coupons.

• An expert has to certify that a professional negligence case has merit.

A cap on noneconomic damages, often referred to as pain and suffering, won't be affected. While HB 1603 placed a $400,000 cap on noneconomic damages for all negligence cases, legislation passed and signed into law in 2011 put a $350,000 hard cap on those damages. That law remains in effect.