JACKSON, Miss. — Gov. Haley Barbour signed a law Wednesday to limit large jury awards, saying it was a big step forward in erasing the state's image as a haven for eye-popping verdicts.
"Mississippi has been named for three years in a row the worst state in the country for lawsuit abuse. And the Legislature changed this perception overnight," the Republican governor said during a ceremony in the Capitol.
The American Tort Reform Assn. last year labeled the state a "judicial hellhole" because of large jury awards.
Barbour, a former Republican National Committee chairman, was elected in November. He vowed in his campaign to change Mississippi's civil justice system.
The legislation, which takes effect Sept. 1, was approved during a quarrelsome special session that ended June 8. More than 200 business leaders, lawmakers and others who had lobbied for the changes applauded as Barbour signed the bill Wednesday.