Legislature(1995 - 1996)

05/05/1996 01:39 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
                                                                               
   HB 19(title am) DEFINITION OF "FAULT" FOR CIVIL LIABILITY                  
                                                                              
                                                                              
  CHAIRMAN ROBIN TAYLOR  called the Judiciary Committee meeting to             
 order at 1:39 p.m., and brought HB 19(title am) before the                    
 committee.                                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 043                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GENE THERRIAULT, prime sponsor of HB 414, said the             
 bill was introduced at the request of an assistant attorney general           
 who is one of his constituents and has dealt with a number of cases           
 where the argument has been advanced that a portion of fault or               
 damages cannot be apportioned to a person who commits an                      
 intentional act.  He noted that in Attorney General Botelho's memo            
 to the legislative leadership relating to the Kerr decision, he               
 indicated part of their concern over the state losing on appeal was           
 that the Supreme Court could rule, in fact, that that argument was            
 valid and the state would not be able to shift any of the fault to            
 the actual criminals in the mail bombing and would have to bear 100           
 percent of the fault itself.                                                  
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR interjected that no court has held that yet, and               
 that it has been tried in front of several different courts, all of           
 whom rejected it as a silly argument.  REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT              
 said because the courts have been ruling that way, they want to               
 clarify it so that bringing that argument as part of a defense is             
 extinguished, and any danger of losing on appeal and judgements               
 going up is also extinguished.                                                
                                                                               
 Number 075                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR, speaking to the Kerr case, said what the jury and             
 the court did in that case was to follow the public's demand for              
 allocation of fault.  They found that the criminals involved were             
 88 percent negligent and that the prison system was 12 percent                
 negligent, so 12 percent of Mrs. Kerr's medical bills, etc.,  will            
 be paid, but the other 88 percent will not.  Prior to the tort                
 reform movement in 1986, she would have been paid 100 percent                 
 because there was joint and several liability in this state.  He              
 personally thinks Mrs. Kerr was deserving of the entire settlement,           
 but that didn't occur.                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 109                                                                    
                                                                               
 CRYSTAL SMITH, Legal Administrator, Department of Law, stated the             
 department's support for HB 19.                                               
                                                                               
 Number 115                                                                    
                                                                               
 Because the committee had lost its quorum, it could not take any              
 action on HB 19.  SENATOR TAYLOR stated the committee would recess            
 to a call of the chair until a quorum could be reestablished.  The            
 meeting was recessed at 1:47 p.m.                                             
                                                                               
 [THE MEETING ON HB 19 WAS NOT RECONVENED BEFORE THE LEGISLATIVE               
 SESSION ADJOURNED ON MAY 7, 1996]                                             

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