S. 354, 109th Congress, would preempt
state law regarding some aspects of medical malpractice liability, and liability for defective medical
products, including drugs. It would not, however, preempt any state law that imposes greater
procedural or substantive protections for health care providers, health care organizations, or sellers
of medical products, from liability. In medical malpractice and defective medical products suits, S.
354 would, among other things, impose caps on noneconomic and punitive damages (but
only in states with no caps or higher caps), eliminate joint and several liability, abolish the collateral
source rule, limit lawyers' contingent fees, enact a federal statute of limitations, and provide for
periodic payment of future damages. This report will be updated if and when Congress takes action
with respect to S. 354.