Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/20/1996 01:45 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 SL&C 2/20/96                                                                  
 Number 50                                                                     
        SB 119 MANDATORY MEDIATION/DESIGN PROF LAWSUITS                       
  SENATOR KELLY announced  SB 119  to be up for consideration.                
 SENATOR DUNCAN asked who the parties were involved in drafting the            
 legislation.  MR. ERNOUF replied Senator Leman, Colin Maynard,                
 design professionals, and the court system.  He had heard no                  
 objections from trial attorneys.                                              
 SENATOR LEMAN explained that one change in the CS is that an issue            
 goes to the panel before it is filed in court.  The other is that             
 each party puts up $450 which pays for the cost of the panelists.             
 It is consistent with the model law the American Consulting                   
 Engineers Counsel has been using in other states.                             
 MARY VOLLENDORF, Legislative Aide to Senator Leman,  explained that           
 there was no cost to the State and that $450 would be put up front            
 by each of the parties and depending on the outcome, the parties              
 would pay the remaining cost to the panel.                                    
 CATHERINE REARDON, Director, Occupational Licensing, commented that           
 the Department of Law testified on a similar bill and had some                
 legal concerns.  From her point of view the bill is fiscally                  
 neutral.  She said that it would be her Division's responsibility             
 to choose a chairperson and it would then be his responsibility to            
 choose the other two members of the panel.  She questioned whether            
 it would be possible to find attorneys for $300 per panel, but she            
 said her Division could administer it.                                        
 SENATOR KELLY asked if this bill was legal.  MS. REARDON replied              
 that she thought it was legal for the State to pay initially and              
 then be reimbursed from program receipts.  It wasn't one of the               
 issues raised by the Attorney General's Office.                               
 SENATOR DUNCAN asked how the State would collect if someone refused           
 to pay.  MS. REARDON replied that in the other bill, not paying               
 after the fact would be grounds for discipline of a licensee and              
 she referred to the language on page 7, line 12 which said further            
 that if a claimant fails to deposit funds required, the Department            
 would impose a civil penalty of $1,000 against the claimant.  She             
 assumed the State would have to go to court to collect in most                
 SENATOR DUNCAN said he would like to see comments from the                    
 Department of Law in writing.                                                 
 Number 175                                                                    
 SENATOR KELLY asked if she supported the CS.  MS. REARDON replied             
 that she was neutral.                                                         
 SENATOR SALO questioned whether the statute of limitations language           
 was new on page 7.  SENATOR LEMAN replied that language was not in            
 the original bill.  SENATOR SALO asked what it meant.  SENATOR                
 LEMAN answered that it extends the statute of limitations until 30            
 days after the date of the decision of the panel, but it can't stop           
 for more than six months.  This is so that it can't be used to let            
 the statute of limitations run out.                                           
 MS. VOLLENDORF said the statute of limitations language was from              
 model legislation and Mike Ford, Legislative Legal Counsel, had               
 explained that depending on whether it was contractual or tort, the           
 statute of limitations would be stopped until the decision of the             
 panel was reached.  There would be 30 days after the panel made its           
 decision to either file a claim in court or if the decision had not           
 been made within six months, the statute of limitations would start           
 running again.                                                                
 SENATOR KELLY stated that they were waiting to hear from the                  
 Department of Law and said they would set the bill aside.                     
 SL&C 2/20/06                                                                  
        SB 119 MANDATORY MEDIATION/DESIGN PROF LAWSUITS                       
 SENATOR KELLY announced  SB 119  to be before the Committee again.            
 MS. REARDON said she had called the Assistant Attorney General,               
 Theresa Williams, who was out of the office.  She offered to carry            
 questions to her or to paraphrase from her notes from the other               
 SENATOR DUNCAN said he would like to have something in writing from           
 the Department of Laws at some point in the process.  SENATOR KELLY           
 noted that it has a Judiciary Committee referral and since it is              
 basically a legal question, he wanted to move it on to that                   
 SENATOR MILLER moved to pass CSSB 119 (L&C) with individual                   
 recommendations.  There were no objections and it was so ordered.             

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