Rep. Love Introduces ‘Fair Calculations in Civil Damages’ Bill

Rep. Mia Love, (R) UT and Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D) MA, along with U.S. Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), introduced legislation to address the widespread practice of using discriminatory tactics when calculating future earnings potential in personal injury cases and claims.  

The Fair Calculations in Civil Damages Act of 2016, would address the concerning practice of using race, ethnicity and gender to predict future lost income – a key factor in determining overall damages.  

Rep. Love said, “As a conservative, I believe the value of a life should not be either elevated or downgraded based on a person’s inherent characteristics, like race or gender.  The courts should be above using race or gender in any way in determining awards in civil cases.  The Declaration of Independence reads:  ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.’  In introducing this bill, I am doing what I swore to do, supporting and defending the Constitution and the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence of the United States.”

Recent reports have demonstrated the prevalence of lawyers and economists calculating damages awards and settlements based on the injured party’s race, ethnicity or gender.  In October, a Washington Post article highlighted a case where a 6-year old girl and a male fetus were killed in the same car crash, and the settlement for the fetus was calculated to be up to 84% higher than the girl’s.

The Fair Calculations Act would begin to address these troubling trends by precluding a court from awarding damages based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or actual or perceived sexual orientation.