April 3, 2008

After years of trying to get limits placed on medical malpractice lawsuits, the Tennessee Medical Association finally saw such a bill pass in the state House of Representatives today. But it doesn’t go as far as the medical association had wanted.

The bill requires medical malpractice cases to be reviewed by specialists before being taken to court. It does not include a cap on non-economic damages – something the TMA has long sought.

Still, Senate sponsor Mark Norris welcomed the House action.

“It’s a big step forward in terms of cutting down on meritless claims and ultimately saving patients money.”

Nashville Representative Rob Briley has been the House member who staved off the medical malpractice change for several years. It looked headed for passage last year, before Briley pulled the reins. His support now signals that trial lawyers probably won’t try to stop the bill when it comes to the Senate floor.


The bill is SB 2001 Norris/HB 1993 Overbey.

The Tennessee Medical Association has mounted a multi-year campaign to get new limits placed on medical malpractice actions. As passed, the bill is a six-page prescription for how to get a “certificate of good faith” in order to bring an action to trial. It doesn’t contain a cap on non-economic damages.

By Joe White

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