Tort Reform Essay

1095 words - 4 pages

Tort Reform

Tort reform is very controversial issue. From the plaintiff’s perspective, tort reforms seems to take liability away from places such as insurance companies and hospitals which could at times leave the plaintiff without defense. From the defendant’s perspective, tort reform provides a defense from extremely large punitive damage awards. There seems to be no median between the two. Neither side will be satisfied. With the help of affiliations such as the American Tort Reform Association and Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, many businesses and corporations are working to change the current tort system to stop these high cash awards.

Various organizations working in favor of tort reform include the American Tort Reform Association and Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse. These associations are working to change the current tort system to work to the advantage of the businesses. The American Tort Reform Association, also known as the ATRA, founded in 1986, is a “bipartisan coalition of more than 300 businesses, corporations, municipalities, associations, and professional firms (American Tort Reform Association )” such as Exxon and General Electric that work together to "bring greater fairness, predictability and efficiency to the civil justice system through public education and legislative reform”(American Tort Reform Association ). Based in the District of Columbia, the ATRA consists of a thirty-two member board of directors that keeps members informed about current tort reform issues. Due to their efforts, tort reform issues supported by the ARTA have been adopted in forty-five states as well as the District of Columbia. Some of the issues supported by the ATRA include punitive damages and medical liability. Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) is an organization made up of many small organizations. It consists of people living in communities joining together to try to stop the “high cost and injustice in our legal system” (American Tort Reform Association). Located throughout the United States, the CALA is fighting to eliminate the high payouts for circumstantial cases (American Tort Reform Association).

The ATRA and CALA are trying to stop minor cases from receiving enormous sums of money which will dampen the economy. The subject matter of these cases varies to some length including but not limited to medical and car insurance. In a case against Rich Mountain Nursing and Rehabilitation Center of Mena, jurors found the defendant, Mena, guilty of malpractice in the death of Margaretha Sauer, a ninety-three year old woman. The non-economic punitive damages cash award for the suffering and pain of the Sauer family to be paid by Mena was seventy-eight million dollars. Punitive damages is one of the issues that the ATRA is trying to combat. If nursing homes continue to have pay large sums for punitive damages, they will not be able to survive. The premium average liability offered by...

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