[MMA News Now, May 22, 2014]
Late in the recently completed legislative session, the MMA successfully fended off a bill (SF 693
) that could have led to greatly expanding the amount of damages awarded in wrongful death cases.
The legislation, which was promoted by the trial lawyers’ professional association, looked to address a very specific and uncommon situation: when a plaintiff with an active personal injury case dies due to causes unrelated to the case.
A large coalition of groups led by Allina, MMA, MHA, CareProviders, Aging Services of Minnesota, the Chamber of Commerce and others worked to educate legislators on how the bill could greatly expand the cost of medical malpractice cases and create new damages that have never been allowed before.
Both the House and Senate passed versions of the bill with overwhelming majorities. Because the bills differed they were sent to a conference committee. In the end, the conference committee was unable to reach a compromise and the bill died without action.
“This piece of legislation didn’t get the headlines of other bills but it was certainly a key one for Minnesota physicians,” said Dave Renner, MMA’s director of state and federal legislation. “This is an example of how a bill that doesn’t get passed is sometimes as important as one that does. This bill would have been potentially disastrous in terms of medical malpractice going forward.”