An amendment tacked onto a legislative proposal that would limit punitive damages in civil cases threatens to derail the bill on the Senate floor, said state Sen. Larry Martin, a key supporter of the proposed cap. The amendment would turn South Carolina away from the state Supreme Court's 2010 designation of the risk-utility analysis as the sole test for defective design in many products liability cases. In Branham v. Ford Motor Co., a split court reversed a $31 million verdict against the automaker last August and said state courts no longer would charge juries with the venerable consumer-expectations test except in manufacturing-defect cases.
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