January 20, 2011

Why Wisconsin needs to reform those torts

If you're suspicious that Governor Scott Walker's laundry list of "tort reforms" is nothing more than a political sop to his corporate sponsors and big campaign donors, check this out:
Of those who testified in favor of the bill, not one shared a story of how current law had crippled their business, noted Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, Tuesday when the full Senate debated and eventually approved the bill.*
Tort reform supporter bends truth about own legal history

It would appear your suspicion is fairly well grounded.

If you desire to retool the Wisconsin rules of evidence, shouldn't you be required to provide at least some Wisconsin evidence as to why?

By the way, further to Walker's claims that "tort reform" will improve Wisconsin's fiscal climate, the State Department of Administration's Division of Executive Budget and Finance pronounced "No State Fiscal Effect" upon its review of the governor's proposals (.pdf; 6 pgs.).

* Straight party line.


rgrischk said...


My name is Rachel, and I am part of a team trying to raise awareness about the harmful "tort reform" legislation being pushed forward in Wisconsin. Tomorrow on our Facebook page we will be releasing our new informational video including exclusive testimonies from those with family members who have been victims of irresponsible manufacturers and nursing homes.

Please visit our Facebook site, and consider posting our video to your blog to help inform the citizens of Wisconsin about the harmful legislation that is about to be passed.

Our Facebook page is called: Stand Up For Your Rights Wisconsin:


Our video will be available starting at 9 am tomorrow morning (January 21, 2011)

Thank You!

Stephen Maturin said...

Few things are more laughable than legislative committee testimony in support of toart refoarm. Back in 1997 the Republican-dominated Ohio General Assembly was fixin' to enact the most sweeping toart reform the state had ever seen. (The state supreme court later shot down the whole mess at one fell swoop, but that's another story.)

The proponents brought in some restaurant owner to testify before a House subcommittee about how lawsuits were ruining small businesses in our fine state. The clown told the subcommittee all about how he had to defend THREE LAWSUITS brought by people injured by tripping and falling on the same patch of messed up sidewalk just outside the entrance. All three lawsuits were "frivolous," of course, because they were dismissed. But he still had to pay a bunch of defense costs, money that could have gone toward expanding the restaurant and hiring new people.

What he didn't tell the subcommittee was that the cases were dismissed because Ohio's courts had already developed some of the most plaintiff-unfriendly common law no-duty rules for premises liability cases that you'll ever see. One such rule was that claims arising from "insubstantial" premises related defects weren't actionable. That ultimately morphed into a rule under which a difference in elevation between two adjoining sidewalk slabs of two inches or less is "insubstantial" as a matter of law, such that the property owner has no duty to guard or warn against it. That's true regardless of how many people got hurt because of the hazard.

After this shithead completed his tale of woe about frivolous lawsuits and the money they cost, the lone Democrat on the subcommittee asked, "How much would it have cost to buy a 20-pound bag of concrete mix and a trowel after the first guy got hurt?" Legend has it the silence was deafening.

Maybe this year's crop of Wisconsin toart refoarm poster boys will be a little less preposterous, but I kinda doubt it.

Anonymous said...

But wait everyone, with less potential and costly liability just think of the costs savings to business and how that will immediately translate to lower prices for health care and insurance and all other forms of consumer goods and services. I can almost hear prices falling already.


Jack Lohman said...

I agree that incompetence does not translate to criminal intent, and there may indeed be some good things that come out of this. But I'd feel a helluva lot better if it was fine-tuned by politicians who were not taking bribes from one side or the other.

Jack Lohman

>>> "America will always do the right thing, but only after everything else fails." Winston Churchill