Archive for the ‘Law Suit Reform’ Category

New Attorney-General Model Harms Oklahoma

July 23, 2007



By Andrew Spioropoulos

EDMOND — Oklahoma’s lawsuit-reform debate sadly has revealed that honorable and well-meaning public officials like Gov. Brad Henry and Attorney General Drew Edmondson, when push comes to shove, side with the most reactionary elements of the trial bar.

But this year’s debate revealed a problem even more disturbing than opposition to legal reform. Edmondson has imported to Oklahoma a new model of the office of attorney general that is destructive both to the rule of law and to the welfare of the state. Read more…

Lawyers Not Ready for Reform

May 31, 2007

Andrew Spiropoulos is a professor of law and director of the Center for the Study of State Constitutional Law at Oklahoma City University. He also is an adjunct scholar at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs.

Andrew Spiropoulos
Guest viewpoint

Like many in my profession, I dreamed of being a lawyer from a young age, inspired by both the Atticus Finches of fiction and the Abraham Lincolns of real life. I have never lost my love for the law and the pride I have in the noblest practitioners of it.

Yet despite my love for the law and for genuine lawyers I am bitterly disappointed by the recent actions of some in my profession.

When the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs asked me four years ago to help study and develop recommendations for the reform of our state’s civil justice system, I naively believed that most of the leaders of the profession here in Oklahoma sincerely would participate in the effort to make our system better. Granted, I never expected that the plaintiffs’ bar would consider the issue with an open mind, especially the bottom-feeders who would be most hurt by reforms discouraging meritless and profiteering litigation.

I did, however, expect those whose personal financial interests were not directly hurt by sensible reform to sincerely grapple with remedying the accumulated flaws of our system.

My expectations were, of course, utterly unrealistic. The profession here in Oklahoma has shown little or no interest in reforming itself. Read more…

State Chamber "Disappointed" in Henry’s Veto

May 1, 2007

State Chamber’s statement on Henry’s lawsuit reform veto:

Oklahoma’s business community is extremely disappointed in Governor Henry’s veto of lawsuit reform. “Even though small business owners and large Oklahoma corporate citizens came together in their effort to communicate the importance of his signing of the lawsuit reform elements he himself called for, the plain fact is that he chose to listen to his trial lawyer friends,” said Mike Seney, senior vice president of operations for The State Chamber. “This is not the last lawsuit reform bill that will be put on the governor’s desk. We hope that he will eventually realize the frustration Oklahomans have with our current system.”

President & CEO of The State Chamber Richard P. Rush commended the other hundreds of business volunteers and leaders that have worked so hard for this chance to protect our community from self-serving attorneys who have learned to manipulate the system to their own advantage. “Each Oklahoma consumer lost the ability to see lower prices due to the Governor’s actions,” Rush said.

State Chamber "Disappointed" in Henry’s Veto

May 1, 2007

State Chamber’s statement on Henry’s lawsuit reform veto:

Oklahoma’s business community is extremely disappointed in Governor Henry’s veto of lawsuit reform. “Even though small business owners and large Oklahoma corporate citizens came together in their effort to communicate the importance of his signing of the lawsuit reform elements he himself called for, the plain fact is that he chose to listen to his trial lawyer friends,” said Mike Seney, senior vice president of operations for The State Chamber. “This is not the last lawsuit reform bill that will be put on the governor’s desk. We hope that he will eventually realize the frustration Oklahomans have with our current system.”

President & CEO of The State Chamber Richard P. Rush commended the other hundreds of business volunteers and leaders that have worked so hard for this chance to protect our community from self-serving attorneys who have learned to manipulate the system to their own advantage. “Each Oklahoma consumer lost the ability to see lower prices due to the Governor’s actions,” Rush said.

Business Leaders Say Governor’s Veto of Lawsuit Reform Likely to Harm

May 1, 2007

National and state business leaders are calling Governor Henry’s furtive weekend veto of a comprehensive lawsuit reform measure a killer for Oklahoma’s economic climate.

“This is a mistake on his (Henry’s) part that will have serious consequences for the state’s business climate,” stated the National Association of Manufacturers on its “ShopFloor.org” blog this weekend.

The NAM posted the comments Saturday after Henry vetoed Senate Bill 507, an omnibus lawsuit reform measure that contained nearly all of the provisions the governor himself has repeatedly claimed to favor.

Though it’s difficult to assign a specific dollar number, economic experts say the veto is likely to have far-reaching harmful implications for Oklahoma.

“Certainly states that neglect tort reform will fall behind states that enact lawsuit reform,” said Rex Pjesky, Ph.D., an assistant professor of economics at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah. “Lawsuit reform is important because it sends the message that Oklahoma is open for business. The tort reform bill would have helped everyone know that we want them to come to Oklahoma to create jobs, raise their families, and join us in prosperity.”

The governor claimed in his veto message that, “SB 507 did little to help innocent business owners who rack up costs fighting a frivolous complaint that is ultimately thrown out of court.”

According to the Pacific Research Institute, a think tank in favor of lawsuit reform, Oklahoma ranks among the 15 worst states overall in terms of a poor lawsuit reform environment. Oklahoma is ranked 38th for problems ranging from lawsuit threats to monetary losses from harmful verdicts.

To make matters worse, surrounding states like Colorado, Kansas and Texas have all passed strong lawsuit reform measures and rank among the top 10 states with the best lawsuit reform laws – while Missouri,Arkansas and Louisiana each rank far ahead of Oklahoma in terms of reform efforts.

One respected Oklahoma legal scholar who has worked on lawsuit reform efforts agrees that the governor’s veto is bad news for the state.

In a recent post on the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs’ “Under the Dome” blog, Oklahoma City University constitutional scholar and law professor Andrew Spiropoulos noted that, “Our leading lawyers … ought to prefer the common good to their litigation success. We deserve better, but we won’t get it, unless we are willing to demand it from our officials and ourselves.”

Business Leaders Say Governor’s Veto of Lawsuit Reform Likely to Harm

May 1, 2007

National and state business leaders are calling Governor Henry’s furtive weekend veto of a comprehensive lawsuit reform measure a killer for Oklahoma’s economic climate.

“This is a mistake on his (Henry’s) part that will have serious consequences for the state’s business climate,” stated the National Association of Manufacturers on its “ShopFloor.org” blog this weekend.

The NAM posted the comments Saturday after Henry vetoed Senate Bill 507, an omnibus lawsuit reform measure that contained nearly all of the provisions the governor himself has repeatedly claimed to favor.

Though it’s difficult to assign a specific dollar number, economic experts say the veto is likely to have far-reaching harmful implications for Oklahoma.

“Certainly states that neglect tort reform will fall behind states that enact lawsuit reform,” said Rex Pjesky, Ph.D., an assistant professor of economics at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah. “Lawsuit reform is important because it sends the message that Oklahoma is open for business. The tort reform bill would have helped everyone know that we want them to come to Oklahoma to create jobs, raise their families, and join us in prosperity.”

The governor claimed in his veto message that, “SB 507 did little to help innocent business owners who rack up costs fighting a frivolous complaint that is ultimately thrown out of court.”

According to the Pacific Research Institute, a think tank in favor of lawsuit reform, Oklahoma ranks among the 15 worst states overall in terms of a poor lawsuit reform environment. Oklahoma is ranked 38th for problems ranging from lawsuit threats to monetary losses from harmful verdicts.

To make matters worse, surrounding states like Colorado, Kansas and Texas have all passed strong lawsuit reform measures and rank among the top 10 states with the best lawsuit reform laws – while Missouri,Arkansas and Louisiana each rank far ahead of Oklahoma in terms of reform efforts.

One respected Oklahoma legal scholar who has worked on lawsuit reform efforts agrees that the governor’s veto is bad news for the state.

In a recent post on the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs’ “Under the Dome” blog, Oklahoma City University constitutional scholar and law professor Andrew Spiropoulos noted that, “Our leading lawyers … ought to prefer the common good to their litigation success. We deserve better, but we won’t get it, unless we are willing to demand it from our officials and ourselves.”