Jury trial threshold bill tabled

The Louisiana House narrowly set aside Tuesday legislation that supporters were pushing as “tort reform” to limit litigation over civil matters.

The House voted 51-49 to “table” the legislation. House Bill 917 would have changed the state law that requires civil claims valued at less than $50,000 to be decided by a judge. Lowering the monetary threshold would allow for more jury trials, which opponents to the measure argued would decrease the ability of victims to file lawsuits seeking civil damages for injuries, negligence and other claims.

The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry as well as other groups lobbying for businesses and professionals, supported House Bill 917, sponsored by state Rep. Ray Garofalo, R-Chalmette.

Though a setback for the business community, the Senate has similar legislation pending.