Friday, July 3, 2020
In the final hours of a special session in Louisiana, the legislature passed a tort reform bill that the Governor Edwards said he would sign. He vetoed an earlier version. The impetus for the reform was automobile insurance rates: Louisiana's are among the highest in the country.
The bill makes several changes: a limitation of the collateral source rule, removal of the ban on mentioning whether a plaintiff was wearing a seat belt, limits on when the insurance company's name can be mentioned in court, and a reduction of the threshold for jury trials from $50,000 to $10,000. The last reform likely strikes many as odd. Juries have a reputation for calculating damages more liberally than judges. Defense interests in Louisiana, however, believe that juries will be more conservative than judges, and are expanding the number of cases tried to a jury. The bill does not address direct reductions in insurance rates. WWL has details.