For decades, the term “tort reform” has been used by those who wish to destroy the civil justice system. But when eight of the nation’s most prominent scholars met to talk about tort “reform” last spring, they discussed several proposals for making real improvements in the tort system without limiting people’s access to the courts.
The Genuine Tort Reform Symposium was sponsored by American Association for Justice’s (AAJ) Robert L. Habush Endowment. Held in April at the Roger Williams University Ralph R. Papitto School of Law in Bristol, Rhode Island, it took what Roger Williams law professor and symposium organizer Carl Bogus called a “backward approach.” It gave participating scholars an opportunity to present basic reform proposals and receive feedback on their ideas before writing their papers.
David Logan, dean of the Roger Williams law school, welcomed participants to the symposium, and University of Wisconsin Law School professor Marc Galanter followed with a historical overview of the tort “reform” movement. Linda Wertheimer, Villanova University School of Law professor, spoke of tort “reform” as tort curtailment, listing several examples of damages caps and shortened statutes of limitations.
Ross Cheit, associate professor at the Taubman Center for Public Policy at Brown University, discussed several innovative proposals that would lead to greater transparency in the tort system. Professor Joseph Sanders of the University of Houston School of Law laid out factors that he considered necessary to allow “genuine tort reform” to work.
Several other professors took part in the symposium and offered unique perspectives on working to improve the civil justice system. Their papers will be published in the Spring 2008 issue of the Roger Williams University Law Review.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced proposed plans Thursday to stiffen government regulation on products imported into the United States and broaden safety standards across the board. The proposed regulations follow widespread uproar over imports from China and other consumer safety issues. You can view the New York Times report by clicking here.
New Poll Reveals Voter Anxiety about Corporate Misconduct, Support for Strong Civil Justice System to Ensure Accountability and Fairness
The American Association for Justice released an important poll. It shows significant anxiety concerning corporate misconduct and large support among voters for a strong civil justice system to ensure corporate accountability and fairness. Key findings reveal that:
- Americans are deeply worried about their nation’s future, and concern about corporate misconduct is a major source of their anxiety. “Worried swing voters,” who see corporate irresponsibility as a central problem, may play a pivotal role in the 2008 election.
- Voters support the civil justice system as an important remedy for corporate misconduct, and reject legal “reforms” that restrict plaintiffs’ ability to hold corporations accountable and obtain fair restitution.
- Voters will support candidates who defend the civil system over candidates who assail “frivolous lawsuits” and advocate “tort reform.” Pro-civil justice candidates not only command overwhelming support from swing voters, but also appeal to significant blocks of Republicans.
The report can be found by clicking here.
We’ve all heard rumblings about frivolous lawsuits. But the news reports and ads we see on TV rarely give you an in-depth view of our civil justice system. But that’s about to change.
In the first segment of a film series on tort myths called Mr. Fancy Pants, viewers are treated to a glimpse into the realities of the American Civil Justice System. We urge you to view this eight minute short film and pass the link along to your friends. Let them know the real truth about our justice system!