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U.S. Senate again turns back legislation
restricting patients and consumers

(4/8/2023) - The Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA) reported that the U.S. Senate on Wednesday said a resounding NO to considering a bill that would cap damages, limit contingent fees, and inflict a sweeping range of other tort restrictions in medical malpractice cases, and in product liability cases involving drugs and medical devices. The vote marks the second time in six weeks that the Senate has turned back this type of restrictive legislation.

According to ATLA,proponents of the restrictive measure garnered only 49 votes, short of even a bare Senate majority. They would have needed 60 votes to end a filibuster and proceed to the consideration of S.2207, according to ATLA.

According to ATLA, three Republicans - Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Richard Shelby of Alabama and Mike Crapo of Idaho - joined 45 Democrats in voting against consideration of the bill. Only one Democrat, Zell Miller of Georgia, voted in favor of ending the filibuster; while three Senators, John Kerry, Joe Lieberman and Patty Murray were absent. Senator Bob Byrd of West Virginia, who voted to end the filibuster against a similar bill in February, today voted with his Democratic colleagues against consideration of the bill, according to ATLA.

ATLA encourages trial lawyers to please take the time to thank senators who stood up for the rights of patients and their families. Contact information for Senators can be found at http://action.peopleoverprofits.org/legDirectory/

ATLA’s President, David Casey said that yesterday’s vote is not likely to be the last on this subject matter. “We need all of you to stay involved,” Casey said. “In February, you helped defeat a bill that would have restricted actions involving ob/gyn services; the bill we turned aside today would also have limited ob/gyn cases, but in addition it would have limited actions involving emergency or trauma care,” said Casey.

“Now, Senate Majority Leader Frist is promising the American Medical Association that he will keep at it, that he will bring additional medical liability bills to the Floor before adjournment,” Casey added

“If we make our voices heard, we can win these fights! Thanks for all you've already done,” he concluded.


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