Legislative (Non)Update: Legislative Lack of Interest
Pending legislation can often be a harbinger of change, even if it doesn’t pass the first time around. This legislative session has seen several bills that, while unsuccessful this time, might still be of interest to legislators and lawyers next session…
Third time wasn’t the charm for an idea first proposed in 2015 and revisited again in 2016 and 2017 that seeks to move medical malpractice claims out of the court system and into a Patients’ Compensation System. The bill (SB744/HB1150) would have established a system managed by the Department of Health that would investigate and review claims of medical malpractice and would govern how compensation to injured patients is handled. This legislation again did not make it out of either the House Civil Justice Committee or the Senate Judiciary Committee.
A handful of bills intended to affect healthcare liability litigation also failed to get traction: (1) SB333/HB591 which would impose sanctions upon an attorney who files a healthcare liability action in violation of the certificate of good faith requirement; (2) SB328/HB639 increasing from 60 to 65 the number of days prior to filing a healthcare liability lawsuit giving written notice of the potential claim to each healthcare provider that will be named as a defendant; and (3) SB892/HB1089 assembling a task force comprised of members of the insurance industry and healthcare providers to study creating a no-fault system for healthcare liability. None of these bills advanced to the floor of either chamber.
Finally, legislation regarding the collateral source rule stalled. The bill, SB207/HB350, was filed as a caption bill related to car insurance and was believed to be intended to defend the collateral source rule in personal injury cases. The Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association had identified this bill to its members as one it supported. This issue also seems to be one that the legislature decided not to pursue this year.