Tort Reform

The Washington Post has a good story on Republican efforts to sneak “tort reform” – legislation to block people from suing corporations, limiting the amount they can sue for, or limiting what lawyers can make from such suits – into Federal laws without us noticing, GOP Plans New Caps on Court Awards.

“While Democrats and Republicans disagree about the merits of curtailing lawsuits, this much is indisputable: Corporations stand to benefit financially, while individuals may lose the opportunity to win significant jury awards if they are harmed by certain products.”

Tort reform is another of the corporate right’s long-term “think tank” projects, where you start hearing about “studies” that point out a a “problem,” over and over, until it becomes accepted “conventional wisdom.” How long have you been hearing about how court awards are out of control? Why do you think the misleading story of the McDonald’s spilled coffee lawsuit is repeated so often, through all the usual outlets – Paul Harvey, Rush Limbaugh, all the “pundits”, etc…?

You hear about someone filing a ridiculous suit, but you never hear when it gets thrown out of court. Or you learn later that actually the merits of the case were good – you only heard one distorted side of it, twisted to make it sound like a bogus suit to bolster the claims that lawsuits are out of control. Or you hear phony stories about the cost to insurance companies, etc. It’s “conventional wisdom” at this point, but it’s also bullshit.

But instead of my going on about it here, P.L.A. wrote a good piece on tort reform, and you can read it here.