DES MOINES, Iowa — Several weeks ago lawmakers at the Iowa Statehouse passed a medical malpractice tort reform bill to the governor. On Wednesday the senate passed a different type of tort reform.
The bill, passed 30-19, would shield trucking companies from “nuclear” verdicts by capping noneconomic damages, according to Republicans. The bill specifically prohibits Iowans from suing trucking companies for direct negligence in the training or supervising they provide for one of their truckers if he or she causes a crash.
The bill would have capped noneconomic damages at $1 million awarded to the plaintiffs in cases of personal injury or death, but it was amended to $2 million during floor debate by the bill sponsor, State Senator Mike Bousselot, (R) from Ankeny.
Republicans also said with no cap it was impacting product prices on grocery store shelves. Democrats proposed several amendments, all of which were voted down.
“Who do we value in this state, who are we trying to protect with this legislation? Iowans and their families or reckless companies,” said Senate Minority Leader Zach Wahls, (D) from Coralville.
The bill needs to be passed by the house before it can be signed into law.