Summary: H.R.4791 — 103rd Congress (1993-1994)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.4791. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (07/19/1994)


Title I: General Provisions

Title II: Federal Reform of Health Care Malpractice

Title III: Requirements for ADR

Medical Malpractice Fairness Act of 1994 - Title I: General Provisions - Sets forth provisions regarding definitions and the period of applicability of this Act.

Title II: Federal Reform of Health Care Malpractice - Prohibits a health care malpractice action from being brought in any: (1) State court unless the claim that is the subject of the action has been initially resolved under an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) system certified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (or, in the case of a State in which such a system is not in effect, under the alternative Federal system established under this Act); and (2) Federal court based on diversity of citizenship unless the claim has been initially resolved under the system that applied in the State whose law applies.

Directs the Attorney General to establish an ADR process for the resolution of tort claims consisting of such claims brought against the United States. Prohibits an action based on such a claim from being brought in any Federal court unless the claim has been initially resolved under such process.

Sets forth procedures for filing actions.

Makes each defendant in such an action severally but not jointly liable. Directs that each defendant's fault be determined on the basis of the defendant's percentage of responsibility.

Limits to $250,000 the total of noneconomic damages that may be awarded to a claimant and the claimant's family for losses resulting from the injury, regardless of the number of parties or actions brought with respect to the injury.

Prohibits the award of punitive damages except in cases of gross or criminal negligence. Limits such awards against the manufacturer or seller of a medical product causing injury.

Directs that any punitive damages awarded be: (1) paid to the State in which the action is brought or, in a case brought in Federal court, the State in which the health care services that caused the injury were provided; and (2) used for activities to assure the safety and quality of health care services.

Sets forth provisions regarding: (1) reductions for contributions from collateral sources; (2) periodic payment of damages for future expenses; (3) a uniform statute of limitations; (4) attorney's fees and costs; (5) expert witness qualifications; (6) preemption; and (7) sovereign immunity and choice of law or venue.

Title III: Requirements for ADR - Sets requirements for State ADR systems. Provides for the certification of State systems and the applicability of the alternative Federal system, as well as the treatment of States with an alternative system already in effect.