Pro-business reforms streamline civil justice system and rein in the costs of lengthy and expensive lawsuits
House Republicans today took steps to advance four lawsuit abuse reforms designed to improve the business and job climate in Minnesota. The Minnesota House will take up four lawsuit reform bills today.
“Our reforms are the first step to creating a more competitive business climate that encourages businesses to stay and grow in Minnesota,” said Representative Doug Wardlow. “The reforms aim to improve fairness in litigation, leading to speedier resolutions, all the while decreasing costs and increasing financial certainty for businesses.”
“Minnesota businesses operate in a climate permeated by the fear of frivolous lawsuits and windfall verdicts that can lead to layoffs, decreased production, or shutdowns,” said Representative Pat Mazorol. “When businesses incur unnecessary and burdensome costs, the consumer is forced to pay increasingly higher prices for products and services. These reforms will drastically reduce the rate of excessive claims that eat up court time and prevent businesses from investing in jobs and innovation.”
The reforms include:
Senate File 530 lowers the prejudgment interest rate on awards and judgments from the current (and elevated) 10% flat rate to a market-driven rate with a floor of four percent.
Senate File 149 enacts class action lawsuit reforms, including the authorizing an appeal of right for the certification of a class action before expensive discovery costs are incurred. It also increases the conciliation court jurisdictional limit from $7,500 to $15,000 and raises the cap for consumer credit claims from $4,000 to $7,500.
Senate File 373 shortens Minnesota's general statute of limitations from six years (currently the longest in the country) to four years.
Senate File 429 requires courts to consider the reasonableness of attorney fees in relation to the amount of damages awarded, and the amount of damages sought compared to the amount of damages awarded.
“I look forward to bi-partisan progress in the House,” Mazorol said. “When we allow our local businesses – the backbone of our economy – to thrive and invest in job creation and innovation, we increase the quality of life for all Minnesotans.”