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House Passes Tort Reform Bill

| Tort Reform & Legal Climate

Yesterday, the House passed, with near-unanimous support, an amended version of Senate Bill 648: NC Commerce Protection Act, which now focuses on Transparency in Private Attorney Contracting (TIPAC) and strengthening patent protections. The House Judiciary Committee removed sections of the bill that amend our successor liability laws, expand the role of three-judge panels in the judicial process, and provide greater protections against frivolous lawsuits in the life science industry.

While we are disappointed the bill does not go further to address these costly concerns in our civil liability system, we appreciate their actions to create transparency in private attorney contracting by state officials and to protect our businesses from patent troll abuse. This is an effort we support and have worked toward for more than year. The legislation now moves to the Senate for concurrence on the changes.

Pro-Business Reform – SB648 Overview
Creates Greater Accountability in Private Attorney Contracting by Attorney General:Transparency in Private Attorney Contracting (TIPAC) would ensure that should the state award contingency fee contracts that they are awarded openly and transparently and that the state would receive maximum practicable amount of any settlement or award.

Strengthens Patent Protection: Strong protection against abusive patent assertion claims provides North Carolina a strong advantage in attracting small businesses and technology start-ups. This measure protects North Carolina businesses from abusive and bad-faith assertions of patent infringement and promotes efficient resolution of these claims.