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Louisiana Moves to Stop Nuclear Verdicts

On Tuesday, the Louisiana Legislature approved a bill that could put an end to nuclear verdicts in hopes that it will also bring insurance rates down.

The bill, Civil Justice Reform Act of 2020, will put a cap on automotive accident verdicts — ending nuclear verdicts.

study by ARTI found that nuclear verdict cases are up 300%, causing insurance rates to skyrocket, forcing carriers to shut shut their doors.

 “Skyrocketing insurance rates are putting a lot of trucking companies out of business, and many more are ready to close their doors. This bill brings much needed relief, and I would like to thank all our members who spent time advocating for it at the Capitol,” said David Newman, president of LMTA and owner of Newman Transport LLC, based out Pearl River, Louisiana. 

“On behalf of our industry and the trucking community throughout Louisiana, I commend the legislature and Governor Edwards for their leadership on this issue,” said Randy Guillot, ATA Chairman and president of Triple G Express and Southeastern Motor Freight, two motor carriers based in Jefferson, Louisiana.

“This bill takes concrete steps to restore balance and fairness to the system, helping stabilize insurance markets for truckers and the motoring public alike. By gaming the system for their own financial gain, the plaintiffs’ bar has been destroying the business climate here and increasing the cost of living for everyone across our state,” he said.

“We’ve been on the forefront of this issue from the early stages—and even sent a truck convoy to the State Capitol to let our legislators know how important this is to the livelihood of trucking in Louisiana,” said David Newman, president of LMTA and owner of Newman Transport LLC, based out Pearl River, Louisiana. “Skyrocketing insurance rates are putting a lot of trucking companies out of business, and many more are ready to close their doors. This bill brings much needed relief, and I would like to thank all our members who spent time advocating for it at the Capitol, the legislators who supported it, and Governor Edwards for signing it.”

In addition, the Civil Justice Reform Act will:

  • Decrease the threshold to request a jury trial from $50,000 to $10,000. The plaintiffs’ bar relied on the higher threshold to “judge shop” – allowing them to pick venues they know most likely to produce their desired outcome.
  • Repeal the “seat belt gag rule,” which prevented the defense from introducing evidence that the plaintiff was not wearing a seatbelt and contributed to their own injuries.
  • Bring medical damages more in line with what the plaintiff actually paid—rather than what was billed.
  • Remove evidentiary restriction on the defense that the plaintiff received compensation for damages from a source other than defendant, such as an insurance payout.
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