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Tort reform package clears Senate committee

With one exception, all of the bills included in a compromise tort reform package at the Virginia General Assembly have received the blessing of the Senate Courts Committee.

In a Monday morning session, the panel approved bills that would limit venue choices, expand opportunities for summary judgment, and allow a judge to scrutinize the basis of a medical malpractice action. Other bills would bar expansion of landowner duties to trespassers and would make it easier for doctors to defend cases where a patient has died.

One bill that had been part of the tort reform package worked out between business interests and trial lawyers did not get a vote in committee Monday, but the delay apparently was just an administrative glitch.

Del. Gregory Habeeb reports his bill to further discourage last-minute nonsuits, House Bill 1709, will likely come up in the Senate Courts Committee on Wednesday.

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