Friday, April 14, 2006

AZ House OKs bill to stop frivolous ER lawsuits

From the Arizona Republic:

The (Arizona) state House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill Thursday aimed at curbing frivolous lawsuits against emergency-room workers.

But the chamberwide support belies the deep divisions and controversy behind the measure, which was amended in a bipartisan showdown in the House on Wednesday. The House amendment significantly watered down the bill, with supporters of tort reform claiming it stripped the measure of any significant impact.

The Senate bill would raise the standard of proof needed to win a lawsuit against emergency-room personnel to "clear and convincing" from the current standard of "preponderance of evidence." The House version does not raise the burden of proof but instructs judges and juries to consider the unique situations in emergency-room care, such as the lack of patient records, when making their determination in malpractice cases.

Supporters of the Senate version say that raising the burden of proof is needed to address the shortage of doctors willing to work in emergency rooms.


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