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Tort reform measure on ballot draws opposition

Tort reform measure on ballot draws opposition

Arkansas residents urged to vote against Issue 1 next month

October 12th, 2018 by Lori Dunn in Texarkana News

Texarkana, Ark., residents were urged Thursday to vote against Issue 1 a tort reform measure that will be on November's ballot.

Family Council Action Committee Director Jerry Cox spoke on the issue during a public forum at Verona's Restaurant on Broad Street.

Issue 1 is a proposed state constitutional amendment that changes how injury lawsuits are handled in Arkansas. The legislature referred it for a statewide vote this November. Family Council Action Committee is opposed to Issue One because it puts a price tag on human life, Cox said.

"It shields bad health care facilities from lawsuits. I am here to urge you to vote against it," Cox said.

He said if Issue One passes, corporations will be shielded from lawsuits because it will tie the hands of the juries. Judges will not be able to force corporations to pay victims more than $500,000 in non-economic damages even in cases of death.

Issue 1 would set the damage value of an elderly corporate nursing home resident at no more than $500,000 even when obvious abuse or neglect leads to their serious injury or death."

Cox said the event in Texarkana was possibly the largest of the 30 forums he has done across the state.

Issue 1 has a strong base of supporters as well.

According to the Arkansans for Issue One website, there are not caps on damages for things like lost wages or medical bills. The measure would also fully compensate all past, present and future economic losses and protects the right to trial by jury.

Backers of Issue One also say studies have shown that Arkansas can create 23,000 jobs if the overhead created by an out-of-date liability system is removed and save businesses $316 million a year, according to earlier media accounts.

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