Lawsuit reform said to be beneficial to business climate But consumer groups say taxpayers will be hurt

Corpus Christi Caller-Times
Friday, March 28, 2003

Business groups paint a rosy picture of less expensive products and more jobs if state lawmakers pass legislation intended to limit lawsuits in Texas.

But consumers groups warn that Texas might become a haven for unscrupulous businesses and see an increase in worker and consumer injuries. That's because pending legislation makes it more difficult to file a class action lawsuit and gives some businesses a shield against lawsuits.

At issue is House Bill 4, which is tort reform legislation that was merged with medical malpractice lawsuit reform. The House has been debating the bill for several days.

While a vast majority of lawmakers want to change medical malpractice lawsuit rules, the House is split along party lines about limiting other lawsuits in the state.

The Center for Justice and Democracy, a nonprofit organization that monitors tort reform, investigated whether liability insurance rates decreased in states that passed tort reforms in the mid-1980s.

"Despite what tort reform proponents promised lawmakers, tort law limits enacted since the liability insurance crisis of the mid-1980s have not lowered insurance rates in the ensuing years," according to a 1999 report by the Center.
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D.

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