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First Substitute S.B. 103

Senator David L. Thomas proposes the following substitute bill:





Chief Sponsor: David L. Thomas

House Sponsor: Scott L Wyatt

             7      Cosponsors:
             8      Gregory S. Bell
             9      Curtis S. Bramble
             10      D. Chris ButtarsAllen M. Christensen
Parley G. Hellewell
Scott K. JenkinsMark B. Madsen
Darin G. Peterson
Michael G. Waddoups              11     
             12      LONG TITLE
             13      General Description:
             14          This bill prohibits contingent fee agreements for expert witnesses in civil actions.
             15      Highlighted Provisions:
             16          This bill:
             17          .    defines contingent fee agreement;
             18          .    prohibits contingent fee agreements for expert witnesses in civil actions; and
             19          .    allows for the engaging of an expert witness with the contingency that the witness
             20      qualify as an expert before going ahead.
             21      Monies Appropriated in this Bill:
             22          None
             23      Other Special Clauses:
             24          None
             25      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             26      ENACTS:

             27          78-24-20, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             29      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             30          Section 1. Section 78-24-20 is enacted to read:
             31          78-24-20. Prohibition of expert witness contingent fees in civil actions.
             32          (1) As used in this section, "contingent fee agreement" means an agreement for the
             33      provision of testimony or other evidence and related services by an expert witness in a civil
             34      action that specifies:
             35          (a) the payment of compensation to the expert witness for the testimony, other
             36      evidence, and services is contingent, in whole or in part, upon a judgment being rendered in
             37      favor of the plaintiff or defendant in a civil action, upon a favorable settlement being obtained
             38      by the plaintiff or defendant in a civil action, or upon the plaintiff in a civil action being
             39      awarded in a judgment or settlement damages in at least a specified amount; and
             40          (b) upon satisfaction of the contingency described in Subsection (1)(b)(i), the
             41      compensation to be paid to the expert witness is in a fixed amount or an amount to be
             42      determined by a specified formula, including, but not limited to, a percentage of a judgment
             43      rendered in favor of the plaintiff or a percentage of a favorable settlement obtained by the
             44      plaintiff.
             45          (2) A plaintiff or defendant in a civil action may not engage an expert witness by
             46      means of a contingent fee agreement unless approval is sought and received from the court.
             47          (3) An expert witness may be engaged by the plaintiff or defendant on the contingency
             48      that the expert actually qualify as an expert. Once the witness is qualified as an expert
             49      Subsection (2) applies to his continued participation in the action.


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