Promoting tort reform as a means to foster economic growth may be a winning strategy to win passage of such measures, tort reform advocates say.
They point to Texas, where Gov. Rick Perry—a possible Republican presidential contender—signed a comprehensive tort reform measure aimed at reducing “frivolous” lawsuits. Among other things, the law includes a modified “loser pays” provision in cases where certain settlement offers are rejected.
A consumer advocate sees the Texas reforms very differently.
“This is not about frivolous lawsuits; it's about blocking legitimate lawsuits. So if you or your child is injured as a result of corporate wrongdoing and even if you have a strong case, you probably won't ever bring that case because of the economic devastation you might face if you lose,” said Joanne Doroshow, executive director of the Center for Justice & Democracy in New York. “All this is doing is immunizing bad corporate behavior in Texas.”
Ms. Doroshow dismissed the argument that such changes are necessary for economic growth. “In order to make that argument, you have to accept the notion that the system is full of frivolous lawsuits, and it's not. There's absolutely no evidence of that.”
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