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First Substitute S.B. 225

Senator Gregory S. Bell proposes the following substitute bill:





Sponsor: Leonard M. Blackham

             6      This act modifies the Judicial Code by establishing limits on judgments that may be
             7      awarded against government entities. This act establishes a mechanism for adjusting the
             8      amount of those limitations for inflation. This act provides a sunset date.
             9      This act affects sections of Utah Code Annotated 1953 as follows:
             10      AMENDS:
             11          63-55b-178, as last amended by Chapter 49, Laws of Utah 2002
             12      ENACTS:
             13          78-60-1, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             14          78-60-2, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             15          78-60-3, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             16      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             17          Section 5. Section 63-55b-178 is amended to read:
             18           63-55b-178. Repeal dates, Title 78.
             19          (1) Section 78-9-101 is repealed May 1, 2003.
             20          (2) Title 78, Chapter 60, Limitation of Judgments Against Governmental Entities Act,
             21      is repealed December 31, 2004.
             22          Section 6. Section 78-60-1 is enacted to read:


             25          78-60-1. Title.

             26          This chapter is known as the "Limitation of Judgments against Governmental Entities
             27      Act."
             28          Section 7. Section 78-60-2 is enacted to read:
             29          78-60-2. Definitions.
             30          As used in this chapter:
             31          (1) "Governmental entity" means the state and its political subdivisions as defined in
             32      this chapter.
             33          (2) "Injury" means death, injury to a person, damage to or loss of property, or any other
             34      injury that a person may suffer to his person or estate that would be actionable if inflicted by a
             35      private person or his agent.
             36          (3) "Personal injury" means an injury of any kind other than property damage.
             37          (4) "Political subdivision" means each county, city, town, school district, special
             38      district, an entity created by an interlocal agreement adopted under Title 11, Chapter 13,
             39      Interlocal Cooperation Act, or other governmental subdivision or public corporation.
             40          (5) "Property damage" means injury to, or loss of, any right, title, estate, or interest in
             41      real or personal property.
             42          (6) (a) "State" means the state of Utah, and includes any office, department, agency,
             43      authority, commission, board, institution, hospital, college, university, or other instrumentality
             44      of the state.
             45          (b) "State" does not mean state medical programs and services performed at or through
             46      a state-owned university hospital except that "state" does include:
             47          (i) care of a patient at a state-owned university hospital who is referred by another
             48      hospital or physician because of the high risk nature of the patient's medical condition;
             49          (ii) high risk care or procedures available in Utah only at a state-owned university
             50      hospital or provided in Utah only by physicians employed at a state-owned university who are
             51      acting within the scope of their employment; and
             52          (iii) care of patients at a state-owned university hospital who cannot receive
             53      appropriate medical care or treatment at another medical facility in Utah.
             54          Section 8. Section 78-60-3 is enacted to read:
             55          78-60-3. Limitation of judgments against governmental entity or employee --
             56      Process for adjustment of limits.

             57          (1) (a) Except as provided in Subsections (2) and (3), if a judgment for damages for
             58      personal injury against a governmental entity, or an employee whom a governmental entity has
             59      a duty to indemnify, exceeds $532,500 for one person in any one occurrence, or $1,065,000 for
             60      two or more persons in any one occurrence, the court shall reduce the judgment to that amount.
             61          (b) A court may not award judgment of more than $532,500 for injury or death to one
             62      person regardless of whether or not the function which gave rise to the injury is characterized
             63      as governmental or proprietary.
             64          (c) Except as provided in Subsection (2), if a judgment for property damage against a
             65      governmental entity, or an employee whom a governmental entity has a duty to indemnify,
             66      exceeds $213,000 in any one occurrence, the court shall reduce the judgment to that amount,
             67      regardless of whether or not the function giving rise to the damage is characterized as
             68      governmental or proprietary.
             69          (2) The damage limits established in this section do not apply to damages awarded as
             70      compensation when a governmental entity has taken or damaged private property for public use
             71      without just compensation.
             72          (3) The limitations of judgments established in Subsection (1) shall be adjusted as set
             73      forth in Subsection (4).
             74          (4) (a) Each year, the risk manager shall:
             75          (i) calculate the consumer price index as provided in Sections 1(f)(4) and 1(f)(5),
             76      Internal Revenue Code;
             77          (ii) calculate the increase or decrease in the limitation of judgment amounts established
             78      in this section as a percentage equal to the percentage difference between the consumer price
             79      index for the preceding calendar year and the consumer price index for calendar year 1999; and
             80          (iii) after making an increase or decrease under Subsection (4)(a)(ii), round up the
             81      limitation of judgment amounts established in Subsection (1) to the nearest $100.
             82          (b) Each even numbered year, the risk manager shall make rules, which become
             83      effective no later than July 1, that establish the new limitation of judgment amounts.
             84          (c) Adjustments made by the risk manager to the limitation of judgment amounts
             85      established by this section have prospective effect only from the date the rules establishing the
             86      new limitation of judgment take effect and those adjustments take effect and those adjusted
             87      limitations of judgment apply only to claims for injuries or losses that occur after the effective

             88      date of the rules that establish those new limitations of judgment.

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