AIA Applauds Idaho Legislature’s Approval of Tort Reform

March 18, 2003

The American Insurance Association (AIA) is praising the Idaho Legislature for approving significant tort reform legislation last week.

“The Legislature has made great strides towards reducing the frivolous lawsuits that clog the courts and hinder the business community’s ability to control costs and compete in Idaho,” Bill Gausewitz, AIA assistant vice president, western region, commented. “This measure protects the rights of individuals to seek remedies through the courts without destroying Idaho’s business climate.”

House Bill 92, which was sponsored by the House Committee on Judiciary and Administration, contains several important tort reforms including a reduction in the current legal cap on non-economic damages to $250,000 from $400,000, and the creation of a cap on the amount of punitive damages that juries can award. House Bill 92 also raises the standard of proof required to impose punitive damages.

“Passage of this bill will lower the cost of tort claims and help keep liability insurance available and affordable,” Gausewitz continued. “We are optimistic that Governor Dirk Kempthorne (R) will recognize the important reforms that HB 92 will make in Idaho’s court system and the improvements this measure will bring to the state’s business environment. We feel confident that the governor will want to see these changes implemented and will sign this bill into law,” Gausewitz said.

HB 92 was approved by the Idaho House of Representatives by a vote of 58-12, and in the Idaho Senate by a bipartisan vote of 27-8. The bill has been sent to Gov. Kempthorne where it awaits his signature.

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