Arkansas attorneys fight fee and damages caps in medical malpractice claims

The Arkansas Bar Association is suing to stop a November ballot proposal in the state that would impose new limits on attorneys' fees and pain and suffering damages in medical injury suits, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The attorneys ultimately seek to remove the measure from the ballot, claiming its name and summary description are "materially misleading," according to the article.

In the suit, the attorneys ask the state's supreme court to remove the initiative from the ballot or prohibit state officials from canvassing or certifying any ballots cast for the proposal.

The proposal, if approved by voters, would limit a contingency fee contract to 33.3 percent of any recovery realized after deduction for all costs of the litigation, the president of the state bar association, Denise Hoggard, said in a statement.

She argues the proposal "would take away fundamental rights of Arkansans that have been protected in our state and national constitution."

But supporters of the proposal claim it would fix what they deem is a broken medical liability system in Arkansas, according to the article. They said the expense of defending malpractice and negligence lawsuits makes healthcare more costly and decreases access to care, the report states.


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