Lawsuit limits a win for legal system

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Analysts are calling it a victory for Bush, but the real victor in the Senate’s vote Thursday to limit class action lawsuits is the American legal system.

The bill, which prevents large multi-state class action lawsuits from being heard in small state courts, heads to the House, which is expected to pass it.

It is indeed the first legislative victory for Bush’s second term, but it is a greater victory for those who have pushed so long for meaningful tort reform on a national level.

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Mississippi has at times been at the center of the debate over tort reform, as high-dollar jury verdicts were handed down in a variety of cases. In recent years the Legislature has enacted some lawsuit limits in our own state, beginning with medical malpractice reform.

Large class action lawsuits like those that have been heard in Jefferson County &045; once known as a &uot;judicial hellhole&uot; as labeled by tort reform advocates &045; are ripe for abuse, as the federal investigation into judicial corruption in Fayette shows.

Trial lawyers argue that consumers will lose their day in court if the bill is signed into law. But the bill does not aim to keep class action suits out of the courtroom entirely &045; it just ensures a more level playing field.

We’re anxious to see this bill pass the House and land on the president’s desk for signing &045; and to see more tort reform measures enacted as well.