News & Alerts

Update: Arkansas Supreme Court Strikes Proposed Tort Reform Amendment

November 07, 2016

Arkansas voters will not be voting on a proposed amendment to the Arkansas Constitution prohibiting contingency fees of more than 33 1/3% and capping awards of “non-economic damages in cases for medical injury.

On October 13, 2016, the Arkansas Supreme Court upheld a challenge to the ballot title of the proposed amendment. The challengers attacked the ballot title as insufficient because it failed to define the term “non-economic damages.”

The Arkansas Supreme Court agreed, holding, “The term ‘non-economic damages’ is a ‘technical term’ that is not readily understood by voters.” Leaving the proposed amendment on would put voters, “in the position of guessing as to the effect his or her vote would have unless he or she is an expert in the legal field.” Wilson v. Martin, 2016 Ark. ___, *9-10  (Oct. 13, 2016).

The decision enjoined the Arkansas Secretary of State from counting or certifying any ballots cast for the proposed amendment, effectively striking from the November 8 2016, election.

The full decision in Wilson v. Martin can be found here.