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Guy's Blog

Just one Guy's personal blog of thoughts & sense--common, non, and otherwise--of the world in which we live.

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Location: Nipomo, Central Coast, California, United States

I also blog over at Nipomo News, Messenger and Advocate and Bloggernacle Times

Sunday, October 03, 2004

The Truth About Tort Reform

This will likely be a longer post, and will take me some time to complete. I hope you will check back often to check on my progress, and provide commentary and correction if necessary. I find the topic compelling in light of the current election cycle and political discussion (much of it uninformed) on the subject.

Tort reform has been thrust into the presidential campaign by so called limited government conservatives, the irony of which defies logic. According to w, “Too many good docs are getting out of business. Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country.” It must naturally follow then, that the entire country needs tort reform to keep those OB-GYN’s in the “love” business.

The current tort reformers theorize there are too many frivolous lawsuits. Jury verdicts are too high. As a result, corporate America suffers, and “good docs” go out of business. Of course, such conclusions are simplistic and uninformed.

A little history is in order. The right to a jury trial traces back to the British Magna Carta of 1215. The right to a jury trial in civil tort cases in California is guaranteed both by the California State and the United States Constitutions. Article 1, Section 16 of the California Constitution provides that “trial by jury is an inviolate right and shall be secured to all . . . .” The Seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees, “In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

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