Tort system study may be flawed

Alabama’s Cleburne News
Thursday, March 24, 2005

Facing mounting criticism over its misleadingly-titled annual report, U.S. Tort Costs, Tillinghast-Towers Perrin, an insurance industry consulting firm, has finally admitted that its annual "Trends and Findings on the Cost of the U.S. Tort System" has nothing to do with the costs of litigation, courts, or the legal system.
Tillinghast’s latest report, which puts tort system costs at the wildly-inflated figure of $246 billion, states for the first time, "the costs tabulated in this study are not a reflection of litigated claims or of the legal system." (U.S. Tort Costs: 2004 Update, at 4.) Rather, they are based on figures generated from the wasteful and inefficient insurance industry, even going so far as to include its administrative costs, says the Center for Justice and Democracy.
Rather than removing such costs from its analysis after being repeatedly criticized for including them, Tillinghast states, "Our inclusion of such costs has been questioned since those costs are not directly related to the disposition of specific tort claims. We take no position on the efficiency of the insurance industry’s administrative expenses."

It is critical to understand the limitations of the Tillinghast reports because those advocating taking away consumers’ legal rights have long used the reports as a political tool to argue that lawsuits cost the country too much money. Joanne Doroshow, Executive Director for the Center for Justice & Democracy, stated, "Calling this study ‘U.S. Tort System Costs’ is intellectually dishonest. Tillinghast’s figures are so misleading that they are completely irrelevant to any discussion of the civil justice system."
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D

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