HBA-MSH H.B. 1424 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 1424 By: Christian Civil Practices 3/27/2001 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Under current law, a medical care liability claim is not subject to review to determine the merit of the claim before being heard in court. Some argue that this increases the number of lawsuits brought without merit and only for financial gain. House Bill 1424 requires all medical care liability claim to be reviewed by a panel to determine if the claim asserts a legitimate cause of action for medical malpractice before the claim can proceed to trial in the court. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. ANALYSIS House Bill 1424 amends the Medical Liability and Insurance Improvement Act to establish medical malpractice review panels. The bill requires a federal or state court to dismiss a medical care liability claim filed with the court that has not been subject to a hearing by a review panel before a specified date. The bill sets forth requirements for the parties to the claim to select members of the review panel. The bill requires a review panel to hold a hearing within 30 days after a claim is filed and issue a ruling as to whether the claim asserts a legitimate cause of action for medical malpractice. The bill grants authorization for a panel to subpoena witnesses. If the review panel rules that the claim asserts a legitimate cause of action, the bill requires the parties to attend a settlement conference. The bill provides that a defendant who rejects a proposed settlement claim and is found liable for damages is liable for the claimant's costs and reasonable attorney's fees incurred in bringing the claim. The bill provides that a claimant who rejects the proposed settlement amount and is awarded an amount for damages that is less than the settlement amount is liable for the defendant's costs and reasonable attorney's fees incurred in defending the claim. If the review panel denies the claim, the bill provides that the claimant is liable for the defendant's costs and reasonable attorney's fees incurred in defending the claim. The bill requires a claimant who files a medical care liability claim to pay a $600 filing fee. The bill sets forth provisions regarding the statute of limitations on the claim. The bill amends the Government Code to require the supreme court to require its clerk to prepare and distribute lists of attorneys for review panels of medical care liability claims. EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001. The Act applies only to a cause of action that accrues on or after that date.