By a 236-190 vote, the House approved legislation protecting defendants in lawsuits stemming from computer failures related to the year-2000 date change.
The bill would limit defendants' liability for economic damages to their percentage of the blame. It would allow punitive damages only in cases of "conscious, flagrant indifference" to public safety and cap punitive damages at $250,000 or three times the amount of economic damages.
The American Hospital Association lobbied in favor of a provision, included in the final bill, clarifying that hospitals can't be sued if a device fails because the device's manufacturer did not seek to repair a Y2K problem.
A related Senate bill, which limits punitive damages for small employers, has been snarled by a battle between the Republican and Democratic leadership.