2008 Regular Session . May 7, 2008
LEGISLATIVE CONTACT NEEDED NOW
Contact Your Senator: Vote 'NO' on SB 308
Contact your senator asking for a "NO" vote on SB 308 by Sen. Jack Donahue. The bill will have a floor vote in the Senate next week.
SB 308 deals with required pre-trial hearings for expert witnesses. An expansion of Daubert challenges, the bill gives any party the right to invoke a hearing on any expert anticipated as a witness at trial. Child psychologists, architects, engineers, board-certified physicians, economists, vocational rehabilitation experts and physical rehabilitation therapists will have to appear at a pre-trial hearing to support their qualifications and the reliability of their methodology.
The bill also states that the court must hold a “Daubert ” hearing at least 90 days before trial and issue a written ruling no later than 60 days before trial. The court must provide detailed written reasons of law and fact to support its ruling on whether or not an expert will be allowed to testify. Reasons must include the elements required by La. Code of Evidence Articles 702-705.
This bill comes straight from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its Institute for Legal Reform, which have run full-page newspaper ads for the past three weeks. Their TV and radio ads label the civil justice system in Louisiana as 49th in the nation and our judges as 50th.
As one former judge commented in committee, the bill will increase court time and costs for litigants. He noted that a party--by filing requests for hearings, activating all of these steps, appealing the ruling, etc. — could keep the opponent in delays for long terms, preventing the case from getting to trial. And, yes, these Daubert -type challenges may be frivolous.
Contact your senator now. The Senate will adjourn on Thursday. If you miss your senator at the Capitol, make the contact in the home district Friday through the weekend. Contact information for senators is available here.
Your district judges also would likely be interested to know about this proposed legislation.
LAJ Lobby Day: Next Tuesday, May 13
Bills and issues are heating up. Attend LAJ's second Lobby Day of the session next Tuesday, May 13. LAJ members had good success with bills and talking with legislators during our Lobby Day held in April. If you couldn't attend then — or even if you did! — don't miss out on Lobby Day next Tuesday.
Call the LAJ office at 800-354-3267 or 225-383-5554 to let us know you plan to attend. We'll follow the same schedule: Come to the LAJ office at 7:30 a.m. for breakfast and legislative briefing; go to the Capitol at 9 a.m.; return for lunch and invite your representative and senator to join us; then return to the Capitol to observe Senate and House floor debate. Come! Your contacts are making a difference.
Stay in Touch
Did you know that you can listen to live broadcasts of some committee hearings? Go to the Web portal of the Louisiana State Legislature to see which proceedings are broadcast and get instructions on how to tune in. Use this same link to contact your legislators, access information about bills, check committee schedules and more.