Friday, March 21, 2008
On Wednesday, the Attorney General of Washington, Rob McKenna(R), faulted tort law for siphoning away scarce government resources. He cited the lack of boundaries on claims and Washington's continued use of joint-and-several liability. He also compared Washington's annual tort payments with those of neighboring states (allegedly ten-times as much as Idaho and six-times as much as Oregon). McKenna did not advocate a return to sovereign immunity, but called for limits. He also said he would not propose tort reform again (he last did so in 2006) until it had a reasonable chance of passage. The Washington State Trial Lawyers disputed McKenna's characterization of Washington as overly-friendly to liability. The group noted that Washington is one of only two or three states that allows no wrongful death suit by anyone on behalf of a person who reaches the age of majority and has no children, thus allowing a complete avoidance of responsibility for the death. In addition, Washington is one of the few states that has no punitive damages. The full story is here.