S.B. 640 enacts the Kansas Drug Dealer Liability Act. The Act makes persons who are convicted of an illegal drug violation within this state, another state, or under federal law, liable for civil damages and allows persons injured by this activity to bring suit against them.
Persons entitled to bring suit include:
Further, an illegal drug user under certain conditions, e.g., who has disclosed to law enforcement all information known about the person's sources of illegal drug activity may bring suit.
A person entitled to bring an action may seek damages from one or more of the following:
The liability of defendants other than individual drug users shall be joint and several liability.
A person entitled to bring an action may recover all of the following damages:
An illegal drug user could not recover noneconomic damages nor punitive damages.
The bill provides immunity to controlled substance and non-controlled substance drug manufacturers who are registered under state or federal law. It also clarifies that a claim or judgment shall not constitute an obligation or liability against any insurer or third party payor.
In addition, the Kansas long-arm statute under the Code of Civil Procedure is amended to extend the personal jurisdiction of the state courts to nonresidents who participate in the illegal drug market.
Finally, the bill would raise the amount in a wrongful death action from the current $100,000 to $350,000.
The bill was supported by the Kansas Attorney General, the Kansas Trial Lawyers Association, and others who said this proposed legislation would be a most important tool in fighting illegal drug activity. Ten states have adopted similar legislation.
The original bill would have no discernable fiscal impact on the state.
The House Committee narrowed the scope of the bill to apply to convicted persons and also raised the wrongful death amount.
1. *Supplemental notes are prepared by the Legislative Research Department and do not express legislative intent. The supplemental note and fiscal note for this bill may be accessed on the Internet at http://www.ink.org/public/legislative/fulltext-bill.html.