TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Sunday, June 4, 2006

Tort Reform Database

A new SSRN manuscript by Ronen Avraham promises to be quite a useful resource.  The abstract:

This manuscript contains the most detailed, complete and comprehensive legal dataset of tort reforms in the U.S. The dataset records state laws in all fifty states and the District of Columbia over the last several decades. For each reform we record the effective date, a short description of the reform, whether or not the jury is allowed to know about the reform, whether the reform was upheld or struck down by the states' supreme courts, as well as whether it was amended by the state legislator. Previous and current scholarship which studies the empirical effects of tort reforms uses various different legal datasets, (tort reforms datasets and other legal compilations), some which existed online, some created ad-hoc by the researchers. Besides being different from each other, these datasets frequently do not cover reforms adopted before 1986, miss reforms superseded after 1986, miss court-based reforms, ignore effective dates of legislation, and do not accurately record judicial invalidation of laws. It is possible that at least some of the persisting variation across empirical studies about the effect of tort reforms might be due to variations across legal datasets used. This dataset builds upon and improves existing data sources. It does so by reviewing original sources of legislation and case law to determine the exact text and effective dates. It is hoped that by creating one "canonized" dataset our understanding of the impact of tort reform on our life will increase.

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» Dataset on tort reforms from PointOfLaw Forum
Northwestern lawprof Ronen Avraham has compiled one, of which the SSRN description is as follows (via Childs):This manuscript contains the most detailed, complete and comprehensive legal dataset of tort reforms in the U.S. The dataset records state law... [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 11, 2006 8:28:21 PM


Working of the Tort Reforms:

Texas Tort Reforms have been a great example of the effects of Tort Reforms on the economy. Tort Reforms in Texas has been a key aide in the economic spur observed in Texas. In the year 1995, the Texas Legislature passed a series of bills to reform the state's civil justice system. These bills addressed: limits on punitive damages, joint and several liability, sanctions for filing frivolous suits, limits on venue shopping and out-of-state filings, modifications to deceptive trade practices and medical malpractice reform.

It was in the year 2003 that the Texas state legislature passed HB4 to further reform
or restructure the state civil justice system. The bill addressed issues such as: limits on noneconomic damages; product liability reform; punitive damages; medical liability reform joint and several liabilities; and class action reform. The bill also approved a constitutional amendment, Proposition 1, in 2003, which eliminated potential court challenges to the law limiting the damages to $750,000. The passing of HB4 and the proposition 12 has made a great impact on the Texan economy in terms of growth in jobs and healthcare facilities for its citizens.

The success achieved by Texas due to these reforms is remarkable and is recognized
by the business community. Texas was awarded the 2004 Governor’s cup award for the largest number of job creation announcements by the Site magazine. The site magazine also selected Texas as the state with the best business climate in the nation. The impact of judicial reforms on economic activity in Texas has been immense. According to a study, the total cost of the Texas tort system in the year 2000 was $15.482 billion. Without reforms, it is estimated that the total cost would have been $25.889 billion. This clearly shows how the Tort Reforms have reduced the unnecessary costs to the economy leading to its growth.

Mr. Dick Weekley, Chairman and CEO of the statewide organization, Texans for Lawsuit Reforms, have been active in tort reforms which make the judicial system, equally fair and balanced to everyone in the society.

Posted by: Mike | Nov 10, 2006 2:49:15 AM

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