Issue 4 - An Amendment to Limit Attorney Contingency Fees and Non-Economic Damages in Medical Lawsuits
Update - Issue 4 has been struck from the ballot
The Arkansas Supreme Court on Oct. 13, 2016 ruled that votes cast for or against Issue 4 will not be counted. The court ruling came after many counties printed paper and absentee ballots. This means the issue may still appear on your ballot, but know that the issue has been struck and votes on this issue will not be tallied.
Know before you vote - Issue 4 fact sheet
Find out what supporters and opponents say about the issue by downloading the 2016 Arkansas Ballot Issues Voter Guide. The guide includes a handy reference sheet to help you remember your choices when it comes time to vote.
On Election Day, you will see only the popular name and title of each proposal. Want to read the rest of it? Here's a link to the complete text of Issue 4. (Note: The popular name listed at t he top of the Attorney General's Opinion is the original, and not the final. You can find the final version in our fact sheet above.)
Watch our specialists explain Issue 4 in the video below.
What's being proposed?
Voters are being asked to approve multiple changes to the Arkansas Constitution. If the majority of voters say yes, this amendment would:
- Amend Section 32 of Article 5 of the Arkansas Constitution to require the state legislature
to pass laws setting a maximum dollar amount per health-care provider that people
can receive in medical-injury lawsuits for “non-economic damages,” or reasons other
than lost wages, medical expenses or other expenses incurred as a result of the injury.
- Prohibit attorneys from collecting as a fee more than 1/3 of the net amount of money
a client receives in a medical-injury lawsuit against a health-care professional or
health-care business. Anything over this amount would be considered an “excessive
contingency fee” under the law.
- This prohibition would apply regardless of whether the medical-injury lawsuit is resolved without going to court, or a judgment by a judge or a jury.
- Amend Section 3 of Amendment 80 to the Arkansas Constitution to allow the state legislature
to pass laws regarding attorney compensation and money awarded in medical-injury lawsuits.
- Require state legislators to establish in 2017 a maximum dollar amount per health-care provider that people can receive in medical-injury lawsuits for “non-economic damages.” The amount must be at least $250,000.
- Define terms such as “action for medical injury,” “health-care provider,” “health-care
professional,” “health-care business,” and “medical injury,” and allow state senators
and representatives to further define those definitions in laws that may be passed
in the future.
- Establish that the changes to the constitution called for in this amendment do not
affect the constitutional right to jury trials.
- Require the Arkansas Supreme Court to routinely review and adjust for inflation the maximum dollar amount that a person can receive in a medical-injury lawsuit for “non-economic damages.” The amount cannot go below $250,000.
How did this issue get on the ballot?
A citizen group collected signatures from more than 84,859 registered voters from at least 15 counties across the state.
Who is supporting or opposing this measure?
Opponents and supporters that spend money to campaign are required to register with the Arkansas Ethics Commission as aballot or legislative question committee. Visit the Commission's website to view these filings, which include names of people behind a group and how much money has been raised or spent.
Health Care Access for Arkansans and Arkansas Health Care Association have filed with the Arkansas Ethics Commission to support Issue 4. Committee to Protect AR Families and Fairness for Arkansans have filed to oppose the measure.