Analysis: For the fourth consecutive year, the national Judicial Hellholes
report published by the nonpartisan American Tort Reform Association
(ATRA) gives Oklahoma a dishonorable mention noting, “The Oklahoma Supreme Court invalidated a law requiring a plaintiff to provide an affidavit from a physician when bringing a medical malpractice case. The Legislature reacted by rewriting the law to address the concerns of the court and including that provision in a comprehensive tort reform package. Governor Brad Henry, who had long expressed support for such a proposal, surprised the legislators by vetoing the bill, saying he had problems with two of its 49 provisions.”
The tort reform bill (SB 507) passed the Senate and House of Representatives with bipartisan majorities during the 2007 legislative session, and included 18 of the 28 reforms Henry proposed in his 2004 campaign. Despite these and other previous promises to support meaningful lawsuit reform, Henry flip-flopped and vetoed SB 507.
A friend and benificary of trial lawyers statewide, Governor Henry again proves that double-dealing, lies, misrepresentations, and accepting money from friends of convicted fellon Gene Stipe are popular activities when enabled by the Oklahoma Democrat Party with the support of the Oklahoma Education Association and various state newspapers including the Tulsa World.
Oklahoma Republicans disagree. “America’s job-creators pay attention to the Judicial Hellholes report. This is very bad news for Oklahoma, and it is the latest in a long list of damaging publicity Governor Henry created for our state with his veto. This report creates another hurdle in our efforts to attract jobs and grow our economy,” said Senator Co-President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City.
The Judicial Hellholes report lists opportunities for improving the judicial system including stopping litigation tourism [see historic soliciation of Texas attornies for Oklahoma filings], enforcing consequences for bringing frivolous lawsuits, stemming abuse of consumer laws, providing safeguards to ensure that pain and suffering awards serve a compensatory purpose, strengthening rules to promote sound science, addressing medical liability issues to protect access to health care and prioritizing the claims of those who are actually sick in asbestos and silica cases.
The report concludes, “Experience shows that one of the most effective ways to improve the litigation environments in Hellholes is to bring the abuses to light so everyone can see them. By issuing its Judicial Hellholes report, ATRF hopes that the public and the media can persuade the courts in Hellholes to provide "Equal Justice Under Law" for all.”
To read the report, click here
or to learn more about the nonpartisan American Tort Reform Association, click here