- Matthew Sockol
ABC News 15: S. Carolina Senate introduces tort reform legislation; focuses on percentage of fault
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) — The South Carolina Senate introduced legislation to reform the state's civil liability laws by having businesses responsible for paying damages equivalent to their share of fault in civil lawsuits.
The bill is entitled S. 533 and was introduced by Senate President Thomas Alexander, according to a Feb. 17 press release. It is supported by several pro-business advocacy organizations.
According to the press release, current South Carolina law can leave a defendant on the hook for all damages in a lawsuit, regardless of percentage of fault. This is said to adversely impact businesses, including small businesses that cannot survive a large lawsuit, leading to increased premiums, reduced availability of insurance coverage, and targeting entities thought to have a significant amount of money.
“This legislation is critically important to South Carolina businesses and should be a top priority for the General Assembly to debate this legislative session,” said Tom Mullikin, the president and General Counsel for the South Carolina Coalition for Lawsuit Reform (SCCLR), in a statement. “Without this legislation, South Carolina may lose economic development projects to neighboring states like Georgia and North Carolina where liability laws are more balanced.”