Friday, January 28, 2022


The Indiana House passes a controversial bill barring schools from teaching about Critical Race Theory; and President Biden pledges to place a Black woman on the Supreme Court for the first time.


Justice Stephen Breyer formally announces his retirement; the Dept. of Education will help students who fell behind during the pandemic; and AZ lawmakers consider a bill granting them control over elections.


Free COVID tests by mail but some rural Americans need to go the extra mile; farmer storytellers join national campaign to battle corporate consolidation; specialty nurses want more authority; and rare bat gets credit for the mythic margarita.

How Much is a Tennessean's Life Worth?


Monday, May 2, 2011   

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Governor Bill Haslam's tort reform bill (HB1993/SB2001) has passed the key Senate Judiciary Committee and will now go on to the House and the floor of the Senate. The bill sets arbitrary caps on damage awards.

But opponents say the panel only got half the truth and the measure, in effect, values a Tennessean's life at only $750,000. Supporters of the bill pointed to "big verdicts" in some tort cases as a justification.

Phillip Miller, president of the Tennessee Association for Justice, says the Senate panel was fed information about cases such as one involving a jury award of $34 million for what was referred to as "just a broken hip." But Miller says what the panel didn't hear were the details of the 16 months of abuse, untreated pain, and the eventual death of an elderly man. Miller says the case wasn't about money, but about what happened to a loved one.

"And when the jury returned this verdict, what they were trying to do and what they wanted to do, was to send a message that this is so outrageous that the only way we can make this corporation understand how bad this is, is to return a big verdict, and that's what they did."

Miller says this bill, which would impose an arbitrary cap of three-quarters-of-a-million dollars on damages a jury may award for pain, would also take away the power of juries.

Miller says it's hard to put a price tag on what is lost if a loved one is hurt or killed.

"This bill says, 'Well, you can get their lost wages and for everything else, all the important stuff like not having someone to walk you down the aisle, not having someone to talk to when you break up with your boyfriend, all that other stuff, the stuff that's really important, that's worth $750,000.'"

Miller says the bill includes caps for non-economic damages and gives a jury very limited power in punishing a company that has acted irresponsibly.

Supporters of the bill say it fixes a flaw in the Tennessee civil justice system that puts the state at a competitive disadvantage for attracting new businesses and jobs.

Miller says there's no problem with runaway jury verdicts, adding that the system isn't broken and doesn't need to be fixed. He says the average verdict in the state is $400,000.

get more stories like this via email

Solar energy would have been used to replace carbon-based power sources under Arizona's proposed clean-energy plan. (andreiorlov/Adobe Stock)


Frustrated environmental and clean-energy advocates say after four long years of debate and compromise, regulators sent Arizona back to the starting …

Social Issues

When North Dakotans head out to cast their ballots later this year, there is a chance some will do so in a voting center and not a designated …

Social Issues

South Dakota continues to grapple with its low ranking when it comes to paying schoolteachers, but the issue is getting focus in 2022, including a …

Older Washingtonians take more prescription drugs on average and so are disproportionately affected by rising drug costs. (kmiragaya/Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

Washington state lawmakers are considering a measure to limit the growing cost of prescription drugs. Senate Bill 5532 would establish a …


The Maryland Air National Guard is considering a proposal to establish airspace where military planes would fly as low as 100 feet over the Pennsylvan…

The new grants are via the 2019 Rebuild Illinois capital program, which also calls for $25 billion to repair roads and bridges. (Adobe Stock)


The state of Illinois is allocating nearly a quarter-billion dollars to support new downstate transit and ports projects. Roughly half will go …

Health and Wellness

Advocates and faith groups are calling for more investments in harm reduction across the state, as new provisional data shows overdose deaths have …

Social Issues

More than 300 Kentucky farmers participated in the state's Farms to Food Banks program last year, and at a recent virtual rally, state officials said …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021