The full Senate has given approval to one of the lawsuit reform measures recently passed out of committee. Supporters said the bill will help end Oklahoma’s reputation as a lawsuit destination state while preserving the right to a fair trial. The measure received bi-partisan support Wednesday afternoon with a vote of 29-18.
“This is critical to our efforts to boost Oklahoma’s economic recovery through laws that encourage businesses to locate and stay in our state, creating more jobs,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa. “Lawsuit reform is about providing the jury with better information and allowing them to make more informed decisions, this bill will accomplish that and improve the system for us all.”
Sen. Anthony Sykes, R-Moore, is principal author of Senate Bill 863. He said that “…this reform will preserve the right to a fair trial by strengthening the ability of jurors to evaluate each case while also reducing the likelihood of a frivolous lawsuit.”
Senate Bill 863 will put a hard cap on non-economic damages at $250,000, although that cap can be disregarded in certain cases if the court and jury determine a higher amount is justified. SB 863 provides parameters for such cases. The bill contains no provisions for capping economic damages.
The bill will now move to the House of Representatives for further consideration.