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Legislature overrides Lynch on tort reform

CONCORD - The House of Representatives has joined the Senate and voted to override the Governor John Lynch's veto of legislation that would set up an "early offer" alternative to medical malpractice claims.

The House vote was 247 to override the veto and 111 against, with 238 votes needed. The bill now becomes law. It would allow patients to submit to an early offer from an insurance company to settle a malpractice claim. If the patient rejects the early offer and goes to court, then the claimant must pay the insurer's legal fees unless he recovers 125 percent of the amount of the early offer.

Opponents said the bill would forced patients to give up rights. Supporters say it would make it possible for malpractice claimants with relatively small claims to recover in cases that a major law firm would not take because the likely award was too small.

Earlier, the House voted to override Lynch's veto of a bill barring partial birth abortion unless a physician certifies that the procedure is needed to save the life of the mother. The House upheld a veto of a bill to require legislative approval of contracts with state worker unions killing the measure

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