Wednesday, March 15, 2006

This is the Sound...of Silent Tort Reform

It's a few days old now, but this NYT piece (free reg. req.) has a nice summary of the various attempts to preempt state law, and even gives it a swell name, "Silent Tort Reform."  (...which, incidentally, would be a good name for a band.)

"It's very troubling," said Professor Thomas O. McGarity, an expert on regulation and tort law at the University of Texas School of Law. "There is a certain hubris on the part of the regulatory agencies to make the assumption that they are doing their jobs perfectly and should not be second-guessed, especially in light of repeated history of agencies being misled by industries."

* * *

Administration officials, industry representatives and their scholarly supporters disagree. They say that overzealous state regulators and vexatious lawsuits require a federal response that sets uniform national standards.

"What has been happening is largely reactive and responsive to industry demands that arise because the industries are confronting similar problems—private liability lawsuits and state attorneys general," said Michael S. Greve, the John G. Searle scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and director of the research organization's Federalism Project. "What Professor McGarity thinks as insufficiently demanding standards, too many people think of as outrageously demanding. Many people think that too high standards imposed by the states hamper research and innovation."

"I just don't see how enforcement by Eliot Spitzer or trial lawyers in Beaumont, Tex., will yield better results," he added.

(See this piece and entries linked to there for earlier preemption posts.)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/tortsprof/2006/03/this_is_the_sou.html

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Tracked on Mar 21, 2006 8:39:14 AM

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