Judicial Reform

Brandon Dutcher | May 18, 2009

Lawsuit reform: trust but verify

Brandon Dutcher

I have a coffee mug, a souvenir of my recent trip to the Reagan Library, emblazoned with the great man's signature under three words he liked to use: "Trust but verify."

That's how I feel about the hoopla surrounding Oklahoma's recently passed tort reform legislation, which I haven't yet read but which OCPA adjunct scholar Andrew Spiropoulos is in the process of analyzing. The legislation may indeed be "historic." It may indeed deserve the modifier "landmark." No harm in trusting the press releases, but one must verify by reading the bill itself.

Verification is all the more necessary when various red flags present themselves. I mean, if the trial lawyers signed off on the bill, if Brad Henry is willing to sign it, if the liberal Tulsa World says it "appears reasonable," if Democrats are boasting that 27 of "the most unreasonable and unfair" sections were stripped from the bill, and if tort-reform opponents are eager for their "move on" meme to take hold, it's imperative that the bill gets a closer look.

Trust but verify.

Brandon Dutcher Senior Vice President

Brandon Dutcher

Senior Vice President

Brandon Dutcher is OCPA’s senior vice president. Originally an OCPA board member, he joined the staff in 1995. Dutcher received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Oklahoma. He received a master’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in public policy from Regent University. Dutcher is listed in the Heritage Foundation Guide to Public Policy Experts, and is editor of the book Oklahoma Policy Blueprint, which was praised by Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman as “thorough, well-informed, and highly sophisticated.” His award-winning articles have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, WORLD magazine,,, The Oklahoman, the Tulsa World, and 200 newspapers throughout Oklahoma and the U.S. He and his wife, Susie, have six children and live in Edmond.

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