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Measure Details

An Amendment Concerning Civil Lawsuits and the Powers of the General Assembly and Supreme Court to Adopt Court Rules

Arkansas Ballot Measure - Issue 1

Election: Nov. 6, 2018 (General)
Outcome: Pending

Categories:
Business and Consumers
Legal
Legislative Branch
Judicial Branch

Summary

Proposing an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution to limit attorneys' contingency fees in civil actions to thirty-three and one-third percent (33 1/3%) of the net recovery; to limit awards of punitive damages and non-economic damages in civil actions; to require adjustments to the limitations on punitive and non-economic damage awards for inflation or deflation; and to provide that the General Assembly may, by a three-fifths vote of each house, amend or repeal a rule of pleading, practice, or procedure prescribed by the Supreme Court and adopt a rule of pleading, practice, or procedure.

Measure Text

A proposed amendment to the Arkansas Constitution providing that a contingency fee for an attorney in a civil lawsuit shall not exceed thirty-three and one-third percent (33 1/3 %) of the net recovery; defining "contingency fee" as an attorney's fee that is paid only if the claimant recovers money; providing that the General Assembly may amend the foregoing percentage by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of each house; limiting punitive damages awards for each claimant in lawsuits for personal injury, property damage, or wrongful death to the greater of (i) five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000), or (ii) three (3) times the amount of compensatory damages awarded; defining "punitive damages" as damages assessed to punish and deter wrongful conduct; providing that the General Assembly may not decrease the foregoing limitations on punitive damages but may increase the limitations by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of each house; providing that the limitations on punitive damages do not apply if the factfinder determines by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant intentionally pursued a course of conduct for the purpose of causing injury or damage to the claimant and that such intentional conduct harmed the claimant; limiting awards of non-economic damages in lawsuits for personal injury, property damage, or wrongful death to (i) five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) for each claimant, or (ii) five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) for all beneficiaries of an individual deceased person in the aggregate in a lawsuit for wrongful death; defining "non-economic damages" as damages that cannot be measured in money, including pain and suffering, mental and emotional distress, loss of life or companionship, or visible result of injury; providing that the General Assembly may not decrease the foregoing limitations on non-economic damages but may increase the limitations by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of each house; providing that the General Assembly shall adopt a procedure to adjust the dollar limitations on punitive damages and non-economic damages in future years to account for inflation or deflation; providing that the Supreme Court's power to prescribe rules of pleading, practice, and procedure for courts is subject to the provisions of this amendment; providing that the General Assembly, by a three-fifths vote of each house, may amend or repeal a rule prescribed by the Supreme Court and may adopt other rules of pleading, practice, or procedure on its own initiative; providing that rules of pleading, practice, and procedure in effect on January 1, 2019, shall continue in effect until amended, superseded, or repealed under the provisions of this amendment;providing that a rule of pleading, practice, or procedure enacted by the General Assembly shall supersede a conflicting rule of pleading, practice, or procedure prescribed by the Supreme Court; providing that certain other rules promulgated by the Supreme Court may be annulled or amended by a three-fifths (3/5) vote of each house of the General Assembly instead of a two-thirds (2/3) vote as presently stated in the Arkansas Constitution; and providing that this amendment becomes effective on January 1, 2019.

Yes ( ) No ( )

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