At the May 5, 2014 Stennis-Capitol Press Forum, Wise Carter shareholder (and former State Senator), Charlie Ross spoke about the passage of Mississippi’s historical 2004 legal reform legislation. Charlie, at that time of passage, was the Senate Judiciary Chairman, lead author of the Senate bill, and the lead Senate negotiator of the bill. Charlie discussed how the tort reform bill came to pass in the Mississippi legislature. Representative Jeff Smith and former State Senator Neely Carlton also participated for the discussion.

Summary of Mississippi 2004 Legislation

In 2004, the Mississippi Legislature passed comprehensive tort reform legislation that many deem a model for the nation. The 2004 Tort Reform served to curtail mass tort suits, frivolous lawsuits, and excessive jury awards. Among the provisions, the legislation reformed Mississippi’s venue law; capped non-economic damages in general business/tort actions at million and in medical/health-related actions at 0,000; immunized sellers and distributors of products from liability for latent defects unless the seller/distributor had actual or constructive knowledge of the defect; capped punitive damages according to a sliding net-worth scale; and eliminated joint and several liability, replacing it with a pure several liability standard where a defendant only pays for his share of the fault, regardless if this percentage is 1% or 99%. (Source : “Chapter 9: Legal Reform in Mississippi”, Center for America). The legislation was called model legislation by The Wall Street Journal.

Press Coverage

  • Mississippi Tort Reform Supporters Claim Victory Ten Years After Hard Fight

    Supporters of a large overhaul of Mississippi’s civil justice system are claiming the changes are still benefiting the state ten years after they were approved. MPB’s Jeffrey Hess reports some say the 2004 tort reform law say it brought economic growth while others insist that it has not delivered promised benefits.
  • Looking Back at Mississippi Before Tort Reform

    You may have heard of Mississippi being called sue city, or being the home of jackpot justice ten years ago. In 2004, tort reform put a 0,000 cap on damage awards for medical malpractice. Monday, the Stennis Institute and the Capitol Press Corps to held a discussion tort reform’s passage in Mississippi.

Related articles