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Bill to Cap Civil Damages Heads to Okla. Governor (Apr 04, 2011)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Civil damages for pain and suffering would be limited to $350,000 under a bill approved in the Oklahoma Senate.

The Senate on Monday voted 30-14 for the bill that Republican leaders say is a crucial part of overhauling the state's civil justice system to reduce the liability costs of doctors and businesses.

The cap does not affect other damages like lost income and medical expenses. The bill also provides the $350,000 limit can be lifted in cases where the defendant is determined to have acted with gross negligence or with reckless disregard for the rights of others.

Opponents argued the bill violates the constitution, which requires juries to determine awards in civil cases. Several Democrats accused GOP leaders of using the issue as a fundraising tool.


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