Introduced Version






SENATE BILL No. 296

_____


DIGEST OF INTRODUCED BILL



Citations Affected: IC 34-43.5; IC 34-51-3-6.

Synopsis: Communications of sympathy and punitive damages. Prohibits a court from admitting a communication of sympathy into evidence. Permits the attorney general's office to negotiate and compromise the portion of a punitive damages award that is to be paid to the state. Provides that the state's interest in a punitive damages award is effective when a finder of fact announces a verdict that includes punitive damages.

Effective: July 1, 2006.





Kenley




    January 9, 2006, read first time and referred to Committee on Judiciary.







Introduced

Second Regular Session 114th General Assembly (2006)


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SENATE BILL No. 296



    A BILL FOR AN ACT to amend the Indiana Code concerning civil procedure.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana:

SOURCE: IC 34-43.5; (06)IN0296.1.1. -->     SECTION 1. IC 34-43.5 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE AS A NEW ARTICLE TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2006]:
     ARTICLE 43.5. EVIDENCE: SPECIFIC COMMUNICATIONS
     Chapter 1. Communications of Sympathy
    Sec. 1. This chapter does not apply to a criminal proceeding.
    Sec. 2. This chapter applies to a cause of action in tort, including a medical malpractice action under IC 34-18-8.
    Sec. 3. As used in this chapter, "communication of sympathy" means a statement, a gesture, an act, conduct, or a writing that expresses:
        (1) sympathy;
        (2) an apology; or
        (3) a general sense of benevolence.
    Sec. 4. A court may not admit into evidence a communication of sympathy that is offered to prove the liability of the communicator for causing or contributing to:
        (1) a loss;
        (2) an injury;
        (3) pain;
        (4) suffering;
        (5) a death; or
        (6) damage to property.

SOURCE: IC 34-51-3-6; (06)IN0296.1.2. -->     SECTION 2. IC 34-51-3-6 IS AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2006]: Sec. 6. (a) Except as provided in IC 13-25-4-10, when a judgment finder of fact announces a verdict that includes a punitive damage award is entered in a civil action, the party against whom the judgment was entered shall:
         (1) pay the punitive damage award to the clerk of the court where the action is pending; and
        (2) notify the office of the attorney general of the punitive damage award.

    (b) Upon receiving the payment described in subsection (a), the clerk of the court shall:
        (1) pay the person to whom punitive damages were awarded twenty-five percent (25%) of the punitive damage award; and
        (2) pay the remaining seventy-five percent (75%) of the punitive damage award to the treasurer of state, who shall deposit the funds into the violent crime victims compensation fund established by IC 5-2-6.1-40.
     (c) The office of the attorney general may negotiate and compromise a punitive damage award described in subsection (b)(2).
     (d) The state's interest in a punitive damage award described in subsection (b)(2) is effective when a finder of fact announces a verdict that includes punitive damages.