Mont. Legislature Passes Tort Reform Bill

April 17, 2003

A significant tort reform bill that will reportedly amend Montana law by limiting punitive damages passed the legislature and now awaits the Governor’s signature.

“We applaud the Montana legislature for recognizing the need to control these awards,” said Donald Cleasby, assistant vice president and assistant general counsel for the National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII). “This law, coupled with the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, should help assure rationality in Montana’s punitive damage awards.”

S.B. 363 limits punitive damages to $10 million or 3 percent of the defendant’s net worth, whichever is less. It specifically carves out class-action lawsuits where there is no limit on punitive damages.

“State legislatures across the country, as well as Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court, are showing that they understand that the nation’s legal system is out of control and that fairness must be restored,” added Cleasby. “These are encouraging developments not only for insurers, but for all U.S. consumers and businesses.”

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