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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Bill Would Allow Oregon Juries To Award Unlimited Damages For Pain And Suffering

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A measure under consideration in the Oregon Legislature would allow juries to award unlimited damages in lawsuits alleging negligence.

Juries can already award unlimited damages that are tied to actual economic harm done to victims. But the state has a $500,000 cap on non-economic damages, sometimes referred to as "pain and suffering."

Crime victims spoke in favor of the measure at a state Capitol press conference Tuesday. Jon Anderson was sexually abused in his early teens by a Boy Scout troop leader. He said a half-million dollars isn't damaging enough to get large organizations to change their ways.

"The only way that they see that they have to make these changes is when there are financial consequences,” Anderson said.

The measure is opposed by business and medical groups. They say pain and suffering awards are highly subjective, and that removing the cap would drive up the cost of medical care.