Cyrus Dugger

ALABAMA VOICES: ‘Tort tax’ argument groundless

From the Montgomery Advertiser:

ALABAMA VOICES: 'Tort tax' argument groundless

By Ralph Cook

I suppose it was in the spirit of April Fool's Day that a "study" was released last month claiming civil justice attorneys and personal injury cases cost the United States $865 billion a year via a so-called tort tax.

There is no such thing as a tort tax, and the facts and figures contained in the study are outrageous, misleading and downright false. Consumers take heed: Don't be fooled by the study's claims.

The truth is, civil justice attorneys are America's guardians of justice, helping ordinary citizens without fame, money or power stand against big and powerful corporations. This makes society safer for everyone. For instance, consider the following: (keep reading)

Cyrus Dugger: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 12:12 PM, May 03, 2007 in
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To a point I agree with you, but at the same time it is essential that we consider personal responsibility. We have gone down the slope that says that "Someone else is always responsible, preferably someone or something with money". It is essential that the individual be able to stand up to the large company, government etc., but we hold these same entities responsible for individual stupidity. This responsibility is passed on as added costs to goods and services. To say that "tort" does not cost everyone is as absurd as to say that it costs as much as the article says. The truth is that it is in the middle. We have crossed to the dark side. A perfect example is the present judge suing for 65 million dollars for a pair of pants that did not make his "satisfaction guarenteed". An argument made by the formerly named ATLA regarding med-mal was that litigation against physicians made medical care better, who then is making the legal profession better. Physicians did not police themselves, it is apparent that the same is true with attorneys. Perhaps we need to allow the legal malpractice movement to gain steam or better yet, look at prosecution of "officers of the court".

Posted by: Chris | May 3, 2007 5:41 PM

Chris, personal responsibility cuts both ways. Why don't insurance claims reps take personal responsibility in making fair payments? Why don't decision makers at manufacturers take personal responsibility in putting safety ahead of sales? Or how about pharmaceutical managers taking personal responsibility for making sure drugs have truly adequate warnings, instead of the least that the FDA lets them get away with.

As for the pants lawsuit? That's *one* lawsuit. One. Just one out of millions. Many "reform" advocates claim that one death out of ten million units sold is stastically insignificant. Similarly, one bogus lawsuit is stastically insignificant and meaningless.

Posted by: Justinian Lane | May 3, 2007 6:01 PM

I agree that personal responsibilty cuts both ways. The problem is, there is nothing that is ever totally safe. We have lost the notion that as individuals we assume some responsibilty for ourselves. Instead, when something goes wrong we want someone else to pay. Unfortunately, this is driven by economics. Reformers look at this and want things like caps and changes to "J&S". This is probably too much. Where in the middle is the place that protects individuals but at the same time does not make everyone else a victim of "tort economics". We do not want the approach other countries have taken unless you want to have the looser pay or government sanctioned amnesty battles. We must police ourselves or someone else will do it and it will not be good. Remember, it only takes one crazy lawsuit to grab the headlines and start the furror in the voters.

Posted by: Chris | May 4, 2007 9:10 AM