Judicial Reform

Lawsuit reform: trust but verify

May 18, 2009

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.