Can the Tarheels Keep Pace with the Volunteers?
May 17, 2011
Last week, Tennessee decided to boost its economy the right way. Rather than spending billions of dollars that it doesn’t have, the state opted for a simpler, more sustainable approach: it put caps on liabilities and punitive damages.
Tennessee was one of the few remaining states in the Southeast that had not yet amended its laws to prevent excessive lawsuits. Now, according to State Senator Mark Norris (R), the “Tennessee Civil Justice Act” has “leveled the playing field” for Tennessee both regionally and beyond. “It’s much more than tort reform” Norris said. “We must be competitive with other states.” With sensible and fair liability limits, Tennessee will be a more attractive option for prospective businesses – like Volkswagen. Just last month the German auto manufacturer built its first car in its new Chattanooga plant, a plant that has already spent over $686 million dollars in local and state contracts.
Now, it’s North Carolina’s turn. Tomorrow, “Tort Reform for Citizens and Businesses” hits the House floor. The bill proposes a number of standard reforms, including limits on medical liability litigation, limits on attorney fees in personal and property damage, and limits on landowner liability for trespassers. The bill also has a powerful component: liability protection for pharmaceuticals approved by the FDA . Though there’s a lot at stake for the Tarheel State, so far the local media outlets aren’t paying much attention.
Last December, the University of North Carolina beat the Tennessee Volunteers in the Music City Bowl. Now, it’s time to match Tennessee’s score on tort reform.