Legal reform today in America is critical, and critical for economic reform. Our free market economy cannot be sustained without ensuring full guarantees of private property and transparent predictability for entrepreneurship. Legal reform should be an integral part of any state government reform agenda.
In 2009, American’s legal system cost $248.1 billion, or roughly $808 per person. This statistic makes America’s civil justice system the most expensive in the industrialized world. Forecasts also expect higher levels of tort cost growth for 2011, given that growth in legal costs also generally increases with inflation and are directly tied to government spending as well.
The tactics used by aggressive personal injury lawyers cause many companies to settle questionable lawsuits just to stay out of court. They use the media to sensationalize these issues and often plaintiffs can be awarded multi-million dollar punitive damage awards, another reason companies often settle out of court. Lawsuits like this are bad for business and bad for society as one can easily see from the rising cost of our legal system.
Reform must take place on multiple fronts in order to address this serious legal issue. Health care liability reform, class action reform, and punitive damage limitations are among the issues the SGLF believes need to be addressed. Regulation through litigation must be addressed as well. It is crucial that state leaders step up and reform the system at the state level.
A reformed tort system will also ensure that the United States remains competitive on a global scale. Businesses must do what is in their best interests, and the high costs of the U.S. judicial system do not bode well for them. A reformed, efficient legal system will also greatly benefit the residents of the United States, as it will not only encourage creativity and innovation, but will lower product costs, insurance premiums and taxes and increase employment across multiple sectors.
News & Articles
Companies find a new way to fight fraudulent lawsuits
Meanwhile, smaller businesses and larger companies that are frequently targeted by meritless or fraudulent lawsuits have begun to look to CSX's aggressive RICO lawsuit as a new model for punishing those who audaciously perpetrate this kind of costly fraud on our courts. I say "costly" because every dollar companies spend defending themselves against bogus lawsuits is a dollar they will not spend creating jobs and investing in new technologies and growth opportunities. In addition to inflating prices for goods and services, as litigation costs are inevitably passed on to consumers, such lawsuits also clog court dockets, waste precious, taxpayer-provided court resources and delay court cases for those who have suffered real injuries.
Oklahoma Legislature passes 25 lawsuit reform bills to end weeklong special session
He never did get the 68 votes needed for the emergency clause, a small victory for the Democratic minority that went through the special session kicking and screaming to the end. The emergency clauses on the last three bills through the House also failed, this time because too many Republicans had left and none of the remaining Democrats cared to bail out the majority. The failed emergency clauses were the only items on Gov. Mary Fallin's to-do list not to be checked. The 21 bills with emergency clauses will become law as soon as they are signed by Fallin. The four without won't become effective until 90 days after signing.
Special Session Starts Today
“If you look back at the history of what the Republican legislature has been doing, this is one of the hallmark pieces of legislation that the chamber and the business community have been pushing for. Hearing that it had been overturned by the Supreme Court you had to know a special session was going to follow.” The seven to two ruling came down from the State Supreme Court just a few days after lawmakers ended the regular session. Over the past two and a half months, Senate staffers worked tirelessly to create the individual bills needed to replace House Bill 1603. Also, state leaders needed to plan the perfect time when all of their lawmakers returned from their summer vacation. Gaddie says the sooner the better as timing becomes essential.
10 years on, tort reform sees suits, payouts drop
Oklahoma house speaker expects special session on tort reform to take up to 10 days
Gov. Mary Fallin called the special session to restore several laws overturned by the state Supreme Court that were designed to cut businesses' legal liability costs. It will be the first special legislative session since Fallin took office in 2011, and the governor wants lawmakers to limit the session to restoring the provisions of a bill adopted in 2009 that was designed to reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits and medical malpractice claims filed in Oklahoma. The high court threw out the legislation earlier this year, finding that it violated the single-subject rule in the Oklahoma Constitution and amounted to logrolling, or the passing of legislation that contains multiple subjects.
Oklahoma Governor Calls Special Session on Lawsuit Reform
Fallin wants legislators to separate the law into appropriate bills, thus reinstating the policy without violating the single subject rule. Leaders of Oklahoma’s House and Senate encouraged Gov. Fallin to call the special session to work on restoring the legislation, according to Associated Press reports. The 2009 legislation made a number of changes to how civil lawsuits are filed and litigated in the state, including redefining what constitutes a frivolous lawsuit and strengthening summary judgment rules that make it easier for a judge to dismiss a lawsuit that has no legal merit.
Tort reform is good for Texas
Abbott has been outspoken in his support for the tort reforms that have reined in the lawsuit abuses that have plagued Texas. Abbott knows these reforms do not deny any Texan the right to access our courts for legal redress of wrongs or injuries like those he suffered. None of us knows, from one day to the next, when we may need to bring a lawsuit or defend ourselves against one. The goal of tort reform in Texas has always been to create and maintain a fair, honest and predictable civil justice system that balances the rights of both plaintiffs and defendants. Every lawsuit reform that has been passed in Texas, beginning in 1995, has assured those rights
Florida Lawmakers Approve Medical Malpractice Reform
FMA General Counsel Jeff Scott said changes are needed so physicians can be assured they are granted adequate legal rights as they practice medicine. “It is important that we promote the highest standard of medical care our state has to offer by holding bad actors responsible for their actions,” he said in a statement. The Florida Chamber praised lawmakers and the FMA on the bill’s passage. “We congratulate the FMA on this victory,” said David Hart, executive vice president of the Florida Chamber. “This bill aims to make Florida’s legal environment more friendly for physicians.”
Lawmakers struggle with tort reform
In 2012, the the state Supreme Court struck down a provision of the 2003 tort reform law that limited who could testify as an expert witness in medical malpractice cases. The decision came on the heals of a 2011 ruling in which the court had stricken provisions in the law that capped punitive damage awards in civil cases. This year, champions of tort reform entered the regular session with the idea of putting in the state constitution parts of the state law that the high court said did not meet constitutional muster. But last week, a joint legislative committee considering proposed constitutional amendments to recommend for referral to the 2014 general election ballot passed over a pair of tort reform proposals.
Senate Joint Resolution 2 by Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, R-Little Rock, would have required that a person who files a lawsuit deemed to be frivolous pay the other party’s attorney fees; that an expert witness in a medical malpractice lawsuit be trained in the same or similar discipline as the person on trial or have similar education and experience; and that an attorney who files a medical malpractice suit file a “certificate of good faith” stating that a medical expert is ready to testify that medical malpractice occurred.
Florida physicians closer to medical malpractice reform
Simmons said doctors in his district email him concerned that corporations are buying their practices. Instead of owning the physician practice, Simmons said, doctors will become employees. “The entire profession is at risk. It’s at risk of no longer being a profession,” said Simmons, who ultimately voted for the bill (SB-1792). “That’s what physicians ought to be dealing with their own future. They are drowning. They are literally drowning and getting ready to be destroyed as a profession within a few years and what we are doing is we are dealing with this; a side issue.”
The risk of enforcing hospital staffing levels
Under the bill, hospitals in violation of staffing requirements will face civil penalties of up to $25,000 a day, regardless of whether any patient suffers a resulting injury. But it doesn’t limit civil enforcement to the D.C. attorney general. As a result, entrepreneurial personal-injury lawyers could file costly lawsuits, as they did in California three years ago. There, personal-injury lawyers won a jaw-dropping $677 million class-action verdict against an operator of 22 assisted-care facilities across the state, not to compensate any injured persons but simply because records showed occasional dips below mandated nurse-to-patient ratios.
Arizona lawmaker works to cut down on medical malpractice suits
A state legislator wants to impose some new requirements on judges and attorneys in his bid to cut down on medical malpractice lawsuits. The proposal by Rep. Bob Thorpe, R-Flagstaff, would bar lawyers from filing a medical malpractice lawsuit unless they were certified by the state Supreme Court as a "medical malpractice attorney.'' Thorpe's bill does not define what it would take to be certified, leaving the details up to the state's high court.
"The idea is to try to weed out the difference between good, legitimate attorneys that are practicing in the area of medical malpractice ... from the ambulance chasers,'' he said. Thorpe said he envisions the certification process as establishing minimum standards. But HB 2465 does not stop there. It also would allow these cases to be heard only by judges who also have been through special training on medical malpractice cases. Thorpe said the reasoning is the same. "Let's ensure that even a judge assigned to the case has a baseline understanding of the issue.''
Tort reform package advances
The tort reform bills have been a “darn nightmare,” he said. “I’ve been here for 20 years, with everybody getting along, then all of a sudden,” people are finding things they don’t like, and starting to pick the system apart. The reform effort gained momentum this year, despite trial lawyers’ protests that Virginia’s highly regarded civil justice system is not hostile to business.
Medical Malpractice Tort Reform Signed into Law in Michigan
The Michigan State Medical Society, with significant support from The Doctors Company and its trade organization, the Michigan Insurance Coalition, initiated the legislation known as the “Patients First Reform Package.”
Pence seeks tort reform in first year
Pence has declined to release the details of his legislative agenda before he is sworn in Monday. But Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, told The Associated Press on Thursday that he filed Pence's proposal to make losers in lawsuits pay all the legal fees.
MO GOP To Bring Back Tort Reform In 2013
Republicans claim a supermajority when the Legislature meets Wednesday to start the 2013 session, and GOP leaders say restoring the liability limits invalidated by the high court is needed to control health care costs and help keep doctors in Missouri.
Tort reform battle ahead for Assembly
The chamber hopes to limit the ability of a plaintiff to take a nonsuit in the late stages of a lawsuit and expand the ability of the defense to collect attorneys’ fees and expenses when plaintiffs take such a voluntary dismissal of right. Current law “effectively allows plaintiffs to take a ‘do-over’ after the defendant has expended significant resources preparing for trial,” the Chamber’s statement says.
Legal battle brews in TN over malpractice caps
The issue has taken on urgency as fungal meningitis victims start to craft medical malpractice lawsuits and attorneys weigh whether the suits will be filed in Tennessee or in Massachusetts, where injured patients can sue medical facilities for unlimited amounts of money for pain and suffering.
Guest opinion: Legal reform needed for job creation, economic growth
Now for the bad news. Just last month, the U.S. Chamber also ranked our state in the bottom ten for a good legal climate for small business. It’s a part of their 50-state study called “Lawsuit Climate 2012: Ranking the States.” What does it mean to be in the bottom ten? We may be a good place to start a business, but chances are that business is more likely to face frivolous lawsuits, costly legal bills and unpredictable court decisions.
2 States Try to Tackle Medical Malpractice Reform
Massachusetts’ new health-care cost containment law -- signed by Gov. Deval Patrick in August -- includes malpractice guidelines, known as the "disclosure, apology and offer" approach. The law requires a 182-day cooling-off period between an adverse medical event and the formal filing of a lawsuit. The hope is that, during that time, patients, doctors and insurers -- and their attorneys, of course -- can settle a case before it goes to trial.
Lawsuit Reform Group's New Poll Reveals Even Democrats Are Sick Of Lawsuits
Nearly 90 percent of voters say lawsuit abuse is a problem, the Wall Street Journal is reporting, citing a poll set to be released today.
The American Tort Reform Association and a group that calls itself "Sick of Lawsuits" polled 1,013 registered voters and found 89 percent believe lawsuit abuse is a problem and 78 percent think there are just too many lawsuits.
More Lawsuits, Less Growth
The survey of 1,013 registered voters found that 60% think lawsuits against businesses have damaged the economy and slowed the recovery, and 88% support measures that would help protect proprietors from the kinds of lawsuits that could put them out of business. Overall, 89% of voters say lawsuit abuse is a problem and 78% think there are too many lawsuits—an opinion that draws large majorities from both sides of the political aisle, including 86% of Democrats.
Maloney says tort reform is vital to state
"The court system is the number one thing we have to fix in this state," Maloney said Wednesday during a town hall meeting at the Putnam County Courthouse. "The court system affects every aspect of our lives."
Op-Ed: Tort reform has had just the impact we desired
The crisis' prime culprit was skyrocketing malpractice insurance rates that reflected Texas' status at the time as a lawsuit haven. To remedy this, we took the bold step of instituting tort reforms to limit lawsuit abuse and bring malpractice insurance rates down to a manageable level. And it was an overwhelming success.