Arkansas Lawmakers Put Proposed Cap On Lawsuit Damages on 2018 Ballot

Mar 1, 2017

Arkansas voters will be asked next year to limit damages awarded in civil lawsuits, cap attorneys' fees and give the Legislature power to write court rules under a measure given final approval by lawmakers.

The Senate approved by a 20-11 vote on Wednesday a resolution to put the proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot next year. The measure, if approved by voters would place a $500,000 limit on punitive and non-economic damages awarded in civil lawsuits, and limit attorneys' contingency fees to 33.3 percent of the net amount recovered.

It would also allow the Legislature to amend, repeal or adopt rules of procedure, pleadings or practice for state courts by a three-fifths vote.

Supporters say the move would improve the business climate, but opponents say it undermines local juries.