Straight Up with Sherri

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Tort Reform or Tort Destruction?

For the First time in my life, I watched C-SPAN tonight. I watched a program called "What We Do Now." I have not laughed so hard in a LONG time. Some forlorn soul used the term "tort destruction." There were many other hysterical moments, but this is a topic that I am researching right now.

Today is open mike. You tell me. What does tort reform mean to you? What kind of reform do you think would be best for America, if any? I have been amazed at the difference in people's thoughts on this topic, and I look forward to being amazed again. I have a Republican friend of mine that actually asked me if I was a "closet liberal" over this issue. The funny thing is that I feel MY stand is much HARDER RIGHT than hers. I learned more about how conservative I am on things more than I learned anything else. In fact, I think my stand on this issue is further right than President Bush. I will reveal my thoughts on this within the next couple of weeks, but for now, I am sitting on the edge of my seat to hear yours.

Don't be shy.


  • Cool! You will learn more about yourself in two ways. One is by listening to other opinions that may or may not agree with yours. The other is by teaching or defending your own ideas. In any case, it is wise to be willing to change your views (certain theological exceptions to the last clause apply). I shall withhold my views on tort reform for the moment until I hear a few others.

    By Blogger Right Wing Nut Job, at 1:32 AM  

  • I worked as a "runner" for a large tort law firm for a couple years while I finished my engineering degree. Many of the cases involved people who really did deserve compensation for a failed product that killed or nearly killed them. Many others were pure fishing expeditions where the hope was for a quick settlement and a 33% cut for doing little work.
    Once I had to retrieve a ladder used as exhibit "A" that some dummy fell off of and sued the manufacturer over. It was a twenty year old, aluminum ladder with loose hardware, bent steps and cracks in it. I remember telling the lawyer later that his client was an idiot for using that ladder and there is no way a jury would find the manufacturer at fault. Turns out, I was right and he lost, but no one reimbursed the company for their legal efforts.
    Another was for a electician who was drunk on the job interrupted a circuit incorrectly causing an explosion in a panel, and a projectile killed him. Since the company was broke, they agreed to work with the lawyer to go after Westinghouse instead. The theory in court was that the plastic insulation on the wire got hot and evaporated into an explosive gas and thats why the panel blew really up. Junk Science at its finest. They actually settled out of court for 6 figures, (much less than they had hoped for).
    Two simple suggestions. 1) The Loser should pay the winner's legal fees. This will stop frivolous fishing expeditions. 2) No Junk Science presented in court to juries not qualified to discern scientific mumbo-jumbo.
    BTW, the infamous hot McDonald's coffee incident was a valid case and I'm glad the old lady won. Read about the facts of the trial and you'll see that 1) McDonalds ignored hundreds of similar complaints over the course of years. 2) Their training manual in black and white instructed them to serve coffee 20 degrees hotter than Gov't standards. Their arrogance cost them.
    Great topic Sherry. You Rock!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:54 AM  

  • My opinion regarding the huge awards is this:
    Where there is a condition caused by negligence or intentional malice, only actual damages can be assessed! This includes all the normal things: physical damages, medical, lost wages, legal costs, pain & suffering, etc. However, punitive damages must always be prison time. Obviously, a human being caused the problem, so put that person's butt in prison. None of this "deep pocket" garbage, no jury shopping, and venue switch can only affect the outcome, not the rewards. No third party should ever be held accountable for the criminal or negligent actions of another beyond their control. Thus, if Johnny intentionally runs me over with his Hummer, I shouldn't be allowed to sue General Motors. And this "joint & severable liability" mumbo jumbo and "proportional liability" have got to go!
    Sherri, I do hope you stir feelings in this topic, because it is devastating our economy and the future vitality of our society.

    By Blogger Right Wing Nut Job, at 11:57 AM  

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