Articles Posted in tort reform

Here’s a novel idea for the Bush Administration: the next time a Virginia jury considers the proper amount to award a Virginia citizen severely injured by the carelessness of another, the jury should consider … the facts of the specific case … rather than the Bush Administration’s talking points for the insurance industry that are meant to prejudice a jury and keep it from its solemn duty to … yes, consider the facts of the specific case before the jury.

The Bush administration recently has added to its growing stockpile another claim based on false data. Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulsen Jr. stated that “the broken tort system is an Achilles heel for our economy.” Paulsen based his opinion on a “study” by an insurance industry consulting firm.

It seems that the study includes the cost of the insurance industry itself – multimillion dollar salaries for insurance CEOs, rent on office buildings, and administration overhead – in the “cost” of the legal system. Business Week called the study “a wild exaggeration,” and The Wall Street Journal stated that the study “includes payments that don’t involve the legal system at all.” The Journal concluded that payments from a careless driver to somebody who has been legitimately wronged is not evidence of a “system run amok,”

No, Virginia, your jury verdicts for injured men, women and children are not excessive or “out-of-control.”

The American Tort Reform Association — “ATRA” — has published its list of “Judicial Hellholes” of 2006 … and, Virginia, you are not on its list. You are not even an “Honorable Mention,” and you are not even on the “Watch List.” One sure way to get on the list? Allow runaway jury verdicts.

No doubt Virginia’s absence from this list will come as a great surprise to Virginia jurors who long have been besieged with the cries of ATRA and the insurance companies and corporations to the effect that jury awards for the injured are “everywhere” out-of-control.

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