A Conservative Oklahoma Lawyer’s Take on proposed Tort Reform

[Link to story]

Fletcher Handley, an Oklahoma lawyer that practices mainly plaintiff’s personal injury and family law, recently penned a nice editorial for the El Reno Tribune.

In his “Oklahoma shows no signs of needing corporate protection” article, Mr. Handley emphasizes:

  1. Accountability (or the lack thereof with wanting to push through tort reform)
  2. Right to Contract
  3. Keeping government out of people’s lives
  4. Corporate Immunity
  5. Subsidizing business at the expense of wrongfully injured people
  6. Closing the courthouse door to most common people civilly wronged

Some great highlights:

This is particularly galling to me, as a lifelong Republican, because the philosophy that promotes this kind of legislation is anything but conservative. It’s the “Government Should Control Everything,” philosophy. Ronald Reagan never embraced that, and neither do I.

In 2006, when the Tulsa World surveyed likely voters about the important issues facing Oklahoma, lawsuit reform was not among the top 20 issues raised. That’s because it simply is not an issue, except to politicians who owe their election, their political existence and maybe their souls to Big Business and Big Insurance.

It’s fun to bash lawyers, but your politicians aren’t the reason you wear seat belts today, drive cars with gas tanks that don’t explode, and work in an environment not contaminated by asbestos. Plaintiffs’ attorneys did that. They’ve gone after big pharmaceutical companies who knowingly market dangerous drugs. That peanut company in Georgia doesn’t fear the politicians, they already own them. They fear the plaintiffs’ lawyers and what a jury of fair-minded citizens will do to them in court.