A growing list of global companies call Mississippi home. Centrally positioned in the country’s fastest growing region, Mississippi provides industries with a strong competitive advantage, including a highly productive workforce, a welcoming business climate and a strong network of research university partnerships. Ranked among the top states for doing business nationally, Mississippi and its robust infrastructure and available site inventory make the state a prime location for today’s companies searching for tomorrow’s business solutions.
It’s no secret successful businesses lead to thriving communities. That’s why Mississippi’s leadership consistently works to keep taxes low, strengthen infrastructure, bolster workforce training programs and support the state’s growing business community.
A right to work state, Mississippi has the third-lowest union membership rates in the nation, while maintaining a high percentage of manufacturing jobs at 12.3 percent. Additionally, Gov. Phil Bryant signed a series of laws in 2014 aimed at providing further protection for the state’s right to work status. These market factors combine to make Mississippi an aggressive manufacturing competitor.
MDA takes a holistic approach to foster industry growth and considers all factors that contribute to companies’ success. By working collaboratively with local economic developers, state leadership and private industry, businesses get the support they need to find an ideal site, apply for necessary permits, and hire skilled and productive workers.
Mississippi has a proven track record in projects of all sizes across industry sectors. The MDA team provides both immediate and long-term solutions to today’s companies. Whether it’s sharing best practices or developing customized solutions, MDA’s professional developers work to ensure every project’s success.
The Tort Reform Act of 2004 ensures fairness in the courtroom for everyone. Not only does that mean better business conditions, it also translates into better jobs and health care for Mississippians.
Overview House Bill 13
By House of Representative legal staff
2004 1st Special Session
Effective 9/1/04, except as noted.
Sections 1–7 apply to all causes of action filed on or after September 1, 2004.
SECTION 1. Venue (Section 11-11-3)
1. Venue for civil actions is proper: where the defendant resides, or for corporations, in the county of the corporation’s principal place of business or where a substantial act, omission or event occurred or where the defendant obtained a defective product. If none of the above apply to a nonresident defendant, venue is proper where the plaintiff resides or is domiciled.
2. Each plaintiff independently must establish proper venue.
3. Venue for malpractice actions against a medical provider is proper where the act or omission occurred. (House Bill 2 of 2002, 3rd ex. session)
4. Forum non conveniens provides that a court may decline to adjudicate if proper venue lies in another court, and lists the factors the court is to consider in deciding whether to dismiss the case, if the proper forum is in another state, or to transfer the case to the court of the appropriate county. The plaintiff’s rights are protected by requiring waiver of any running of the statute of limitations to obtain dismissal.
SECTION 2. Non-economic damages caps (Section 11-1-60)
1. The definition of “non-economic damages” is redefined to include disfigurement.
2. Non-economic damages for medical malpractice are capped at $500,000; the escalation provision of current law is removed.
3. Non-economic damages in all other civil causes of action are capped at $1 million.
SECTION 3. Innocent seller (Section 11-1-63)
This amends the product liability law to immunize innocent retailers.
SECTION 4. Punitive Damages (Section 11-1-65)
1. Caps punitive damages based on the defendant’s net worth as follows:
Net Worth Cap
$0-$50 million 2% defendant’s net worth
$50-$100 million $2.5 million
$100-$500 million $3.75 million
$500-$750 million $5 million
$750 million-$1 billion $15 million – current law
more than $1 billion $20 million – current law
2. Retains current law that the caps do not apply to acts occurring while the defendant was committing a felony or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
SECTION 5. Premises owner (Section 11-1-66)
Replaces current premises owner law with premises owner immunity for death or injury to a contractor or the contractor’s employees if the contractor knew or should have known of the danger.
SECTION 6. Allocation of fault (Section 85-5-7)
1. Liability will be several
2. Prohibits reallocation of fault assigned to an immune tort-feasor or a tort-feasor whose liability is limited by law.
SECTION 7. Repeals (Section 11-1-64)
Provides procedure for dismissing a defendant whose liability is based solely on his status as a seller in the stream of commerce.
SECTIONS 8–15 These sections deal with juries and jury service; the effective date for these sections is January 1, 2007.
SECTION 8. Jury Exemptions (Section 13-5-23)
Amended to tighten available exemptions from the duty of jury service.
SECTION 9. Panel Juror (Section 13-5-25)
Amended to delete the provision that anyone who has served on the regular panel as a juror in an actual trial within the past two years shall serve as a tales juror if there is a shortage of potential jurors.
SECTION 10. Exemptions Explanation (Section 13-5-28)
Amended to require a jury summons to include instructions explaining in layman’s terms the exemptions from jury service provided in Section 13-5-23.
SECTION 11. Punishment (Section 13-5-34)
Amended to increase the punishment for failure to appear for or complete jury service. The offense is changed from criminal to civil contempt, and the fine is increased from a maximum of $100 to a maximum of $500. The court may also order community service.
SECTION 12. Wage Fund (Section 25-7-61)
Amended to create a Lengthy Trial Fund to pay full or partial wage replacement or supplementation to jurors who serve on trials lasting longer than ten days. No funding is provided for this program, but the bill makes clear that no county funds are required.
SECTION 13. National Guard Exemption (Section 33-1-5)
Amends the jury exemption for members of the National Guard (Section 33-1-5) to apply only to those Guardsmen on active duty.
SECTION 14. Postponement of Duty
Allows those summoned for jury duty to postpone the date of their jury service and requires the Administrative Office of Courts to promulgate rules for the implementation of this right.
SECTION 15. Small Business Postponement of Duty
Provides employment protection for jurors and potential jurors, and provides automatic postponement of a person’s jury service of an employee of an employer with fewer than six full-time employees if another employee has been summoned for the same period. The bill provides that violation of the provisions prohibiting juror intimidation, adverse employment action or forced use of leave for jury service is a contempt of court punishable as such.
Section 16. Patient Rights
Amends Section 73-25-27 to provide to a patient the right to be present at the disciplinary hearing of a physician who has caused bodily harm to the patient.
Section 17. Medical Privilege Waiver
In medical malpractice actions with multiple defendants, the medical privilege shall be considered waived by and between all defendants.
Section 18. Bench Trial
Allows parties to agree to a bench trial which shall be commenced within 270 days after the action is filed.