Brawner: On lawsuit limits, Family Council, lawyers on same side

By Steve Brawner

Referred to voters by the Legislature last year, Issue 1 would limit punitive damages (which punish wrongdoing) to the greater of $500,000 or three times compensatory damages, though not if the defendant intentionally caused harm. It would limit non-economic damages (pain and suffering) to $500,000, or $500,000 for all beneficiaries when the victim dies. Economic damages based on the victim’s income would not be limited, so the more the victim makes, the higher the potential award. It also would limit lawyers’ contingency fees to one-third of the judgment and let the Legislature change the state Supreme Court’s own rules.

A lot of money is at stake, so a lot of money will be spent in the campaign by November.