Oklahoma State Senate Communications Division
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 30 For Immediate Release: April , 2003 Clip
Tort reform expert Leah Lorber, Sen. Scott Pruitt and Rep. Fred Morgan
National Expert on Teacher Tort Protections Visits Oklahoma
in Support of SB 3 SB 3 Gains Support of State Chamber, School Boards, and School Administrators State Capitol, Oklahoma City Attorney and nationally recognized school tort reform expert Leah Lorber joined Senator Scott Pruitt RBroken Arrow and Representative Fred Morgan ROklahoma City on Tuesday at a press conference in support of SB 3, the Education Protection Act. Lorber, of the Washington, DC, law firm Shook Hardy amp Bacon, assisted with developing the teacher tort protection language for H.R. , the federal No Child Left Behind Act. She says current Oklahoma law does not adequately protect educators from frivolous lawsuits, which can cost already strapped school districts millions of dollars. SB 3 will complement current Oklahoma tort laws and will enhance existing federal teacher protections. Increased tort protections for educators would allow school administrative costs that currently go to pay high liability insurance premiums and to the defense of frivolous lawsuits to be redirected to the classroom, said Lorber, cocounsel for the American Tort Reform Association. Meanwhile, state support for SB 3 is growing. The State Chamber of Commerce, Cooperative Council of Oklahoma School Administration, Association of Professional Oklahoma Educators, and the Oklahoma State School Boards Association have all endorsed the legislation. SB 3 seeks to slash the number of frivolous lawsuits faced by school districts, school administrators, and teachers. In addition to important liability protections for educators, SB 3 would cap attorneys fees at 2 percent, would require the loser of a frivolous lawsuit to pay the attorneys fees of the prevailing party, and would make false accusations against educators a crime. In a 999 survey of members of the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, percent reported a difference in the kinds of schoolrelated programs offered because of liability concerns, and 2 percent reported lawsuits or outofcourt settlements in the two previous years.