Author: Mark B. Hartig
On Wednesday, in a narrow vote, the Pennsylvania House approved legislation which would cap punitive damages to 200% of what a jury awards a claimant for compensatory damages. House Bill 1907 passed the chamber by a 103-89 vote. This cap would apply to claims against Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Facilities, and Personal Care Homes. The legislation now proceeds to the Pennsylvania Senate for consideration.
The cap on punitive damages can only be avoided if a claimant were able to allege and demonstrate intentional misconduct. The law further states that the minimum amount awarded for punitive damages would be $100,000, unless a jury specifically awarded less than that for punitive damages.
It will be interesting to follow this legislation to see if it survives in the Senate and makes its way to the Governor. In an election year, industry efforts to pass legislation capping damages is a difficult task.