Issue 1 every vote counts que es anoxia neonatal

Issue 1, if passed by a majority of voters, would limit the fee paid to attorneys if the claimant recovers money from a civil lawsuit, also known as a contingency fee, to one-third of the net amount recovered. The amendment does not define what net money recovered would mean, but it does require the state legislature to define it in legislation during the 2019 session. The arkansas legislature would also be given the authority to change the maximum percentage for contingency fees by a two-thirds vote (66.6 percent) in the future.

Non-economic damages awarded in lawsuits for personal injury, property damage or wrongful death would be limited to $500,000 for each claimant or for all beneficiaries. Anoxic encephalopathy causes non-economic damages, according to the amendment, are those that cannot be measured in money, which include pain and suffering, mental and emotional distress, loss of life or companionship, or the visible result of an injury.


If passed, issue 1 would decrease the supermajority requirement from a two-thirds vote to a three-fifths vote (60 percent) for the state legislature to amend or repeal court rules regarding pleading, practice or procedure prescribed by the state supreme court. It would allow the legislature to amend the maximum contingency fee percentage allowed, increase the restrictions on punitive damages, but not decrease the restrictions and increase the restrictions on non-economic damages.

Leading the fight for issue 1 is arkansans for jobs and justice, a legislative question committee led by state chamber of commerce president randy zook and consulted by former arkansas attorney general chief of staff carl vogelpohl. The committee has raised more than $2.3 million and spent nearly half of that to get their message out to voters that issue 1 is good for arkansas.

“I think it’s important that you start back in 2003,” he says. “an overwhelming majority of the arkansas legislature passed tort reform for the state in 2003. Over a series of court rulings, the supreme court said in order to have tort reform in arkansas, you have to pass a constitutional amendment… issue 1 really is a continuation of that effort.”

According to vogelpohl, arkansas has a problem when it comes to recruiting doctors and growing businesses. The nexus of those problems, he says, is the state’s legal environment. “when we look at the formula for what it takes to recruit doctors, to compete economically, issue 1 is part of that formula,” he says. “it’s not the only piece, but it’s the only piece that’s on the ballot in november.”

“the best doctors in america can decide where they want to practice,” he says. “they have to start eliminating places based upon certain reasons. And a very easy way for them to eliminate arkansas is to look at our state and go, ‘well, I can have liability protection, living in the mid-south, by going to texas or mississippi or louisiana or tennessee or missouri.’”

But the other piece of the tort reform puzzle, he says, is the impact the measure could have on growing jobs in arkansas. “studies have shown that if you remove the liability burden on a state like arkansas, it can generate up to 23,000 jobs,” vogelpohl says. “companies don’t want to locate where health care is bad for their employees. It goes to the overall community health aspect.”

“the national federation of independent business – these are their statistics, not mine – says in america that 75 percent of small business owners worry about frivolous lawsuits,” he adds. “I’ve heard the back and forth on whether or not issue 1 does or doesn’t stop frivolous lawsuits… it provides a way and a mechanism for those conversations to happen in the legislative body where I think it appropriately happens as opposed to through some other process.”

As for granting the legislature authority over the supreme court’s rulemaking processes, vogelpohl points critics to the federal system. “everything that the supreme court does for their rules have to be approved by congress,” he says. “they can be approved, rejected, modified, amended. The supreme court continues to do exactly what they do. The legislature has to actually enact a law through their process before you can make any changes.”

“issue 1 still allows victims to receive 100 percent of economic losses for lost wages, medical bills, loss of property,” he says. “it still provides non-economic damages; for a married couple that can be up to a million dollars of non-economic damages – $500,000 for each member of the couple. The punitive damages are $500,000, or three times compensatory.

“trial lawyers are not somehow the arbiters of quality,” he says. “I think that’s a real important distinction to make. We all want high quality care for our loved ones. We all want high quality of services and goods and safety… [issue 1 opponents] want to make you believe that if morris bart is not on billboards, that somehow the world is less safe. But morris bart is not in charge of safety. Morris bart doesn’t care what happens to your loved ones unless he can get money out of it.”

Arkansans for jobs and justice enjoy the support of large corporations such as walmart and tyson foods, as well as powerful organizations like the arkansas hospital association (AHA) and the arkansas medical society. Anoxic brain damage icd 10 AHA has donated $500,000, according to current reports, to the committee. The arkansas medical society has donated $261,178. Both tyson and walmart have contributed $150,000.

There are several groups of arkansans taking the fight to vogelpohl and the committee he represents. Among them is the family council action committee, the little rock-based conservative education and research organization known for its willingness to scrap in the public arena. It’s not often one finds them at odds with the arkansas chamber of commerce.

“we’ve said over and over again that there is good tort reform and there’s bad tort reform issue,” cox says. “issue 1 happens to be bad tort reform… we told them over and over again, this is not good tort reform. We supported other measures that we considered responsible and workable. But the powerful lobbyists and big corporate interests out there just bulldozed their way through the legislature.”

“in other states, they’ve passed laws that say if a doctor follows the recommended standard of care, that they can’t be held liable if something goes wrong,” he says. “same thing with hospitals. If they’re administering drugs according to FDA protocols, even if they find out later on that that drug caused cancer or seizures or something like that, then they would be exempt.

Cox, like vogelpohl, points to 2003 as the genesis for arkansas’ current tort reform movement. The legislature’s move to enact tort reform legislation that included a $1 million cap on punitive damages in civil suits and limited who could testify as an expert witness came at the request of the arkansas nursing home lobby following a massive judgement against a mena nursing home.

“what economic value is that child,” he asks. “A child has no income, so you can’t say, ‘well, he was going to work for the next 60 years and make this much money,’ because you don’t know. When you start looking at what that child is worth under issue 1, as opposed to what a wealthy businessman would be worth, that child is worth a whole lot less. And to us, that’s not fair.

“stay-at-home moms do a tremendous amount of work,” cox adds. “but sit down with a calculator and try to figure out how much that mom is worth. Well, she had no career so we don’t know. We don’t have a paycheck and paystub to look at. Anoxic brain damage causes so once again, issue 1 caps the only damages that her husband and her children can collect if somebody’s negligence causes her death.”

He also dispels the belief that issue 1, if passed, would open a window for more physicians to return to arkansas. Using the texas example, cox says that more doctors were coming to the lone star state, per capita, before tort reform was passed. And the number of physicians there grew with the state’s population, not as a result of tort reform.

Cox also cites the decline in quality of care among texas nursing homes as a negative side effect of tort reform legislation. According to families for better care’s annual nursing home report card, texas consistently ranks last and has received an ‘F’ since at least 2013. U.S. News & world report put texas dead last in nursing home quality, as well. Arkansas came in 19 spots higher.

“I’m encouraging everyone to get out there and continue to talk about it, educate people, because I think it’s important,” says danielson. “it’s very confusing. Anoxic brain injury stories one of the problems that I have with it is that it’s leading by calling it tort reform… one of the features is to take the rulemaking authority from the arkansas supreme court and give it to the legislature. What most people don’t realize is that rule making is not limited to civil or personal injury actions.

“A lawyer or lawyers could write to us and ask us to look at a rule change, or the public could say we think this rule should be looked at,” he says. “we would always refer them to the civil practice committee. That committee is appointed by the court; they’re very carefully selected, have experienced lawyers who are actually trying cases. They’re in the arena.”

“A $500,000 verdict is not going to change the behavior of exxon mobil,” danielson says, using the oil company as an example. “that $500,000 is chump change to them. It totally defeats the purpose of punitive damages. It’s totally inconsistent to say we’re going to have a fixed amount of money, because you don’t know the assets of the defendant.