LITTLE ROCK — The Senate on Thursday approved and sent to the governor’s desk a bill to impose limits on class-action lawsuits.


Senators voted 19-12 to approve House Bill 1742 by Rep. Laurie Rushing, R-Hot Springs. The bill passed 53-31 in the House last week after failing in two earlier votes.


The bill would ban class-action lawsuits alleging deceptive trade practices unless they allege a violation of the state’s cap on insurance rates on consumer loans or are filed by the attorney general.


The measure also would limit damage awards in such cases to “actual financial loss” resulting from deceptive trade practices.


Presenting the bill in the Senate, Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs, said it would prevent many frivolous suits and would not stop class-actions suits alleging deceptive trade practices from being filed. If a person is the victim of a deceptive practice, that person could file a complaint with the attorney general, and if enough similar complaints are received, “the AG will step in,” he said.


Speaking against the bill, Sen. Will Bond, D-Little Rock, said it is intended to eliminate suits that hold businesses accountable.


“Stopping fraud and deceptive trade practices is something we should all want to do to hold people accountable. That’s an Arkansas value: Hold people accountable for their actions,” he said.