Tort reform debate

Nightly Business Report
Monday, May 26, 2003

SUSIE GHARIB: If litigation is truly at the point where it's threatening the viability of many American businesses, the question is, who is to blame? I posed that question to two observers with differing views: Joanne Doroshow of the Center of Justice and Democracy; and Walter Olson of the Manhattan Institute and author of the new book, "The Rule of Lawyers."

WALTER OLSON, AUTHOR, "THE RULE OF LAWYERS": I think there is plenty of blame to go around. We have judges who have given us the most liberal rules in the world for when people can sue. We have lawyers who have been very clever about exploiting every possible open end to file suits. And we have, unfortunately at this point, a population that looks around too often for someone to sue when something goes wrong.

GHARIB: Joanne Doroshow, what do you think? Who is to blame?

JOANNE DOROSHOW, CENTER FOR JUSTICE AND DEMOCRACY: Well, first of all, I don't agree with the premise that there is too much litigation in this country. The National Center for State Courts shows that these kinds of suits are not going up at all. The only kinds of litigation that is going up are businesses suing other businesses for contract violations and so forth. But if you're going to try to blame somebody, you need to blame who is causing the injuries. You need to blame corporations that are reckless and are committing wrong-doing.
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