State Capitol, Oklahoma City – Oklahoma has once again been nationally embarrassed by its unreformed tort system.
A two-page advertisement in Tuesday’s edition of the Wall Street Journal named Oklahoma as one of eight states that are “hazardous to the health of families and businesses” because of “years of out-of-control lawsuit abuse.” The advertisement was paid for by the American Neurological Surgery Political Action Committee.
“Sadly, this advertisement is aimed at the nation’s business leaders and portrays Oklahoma as a haven for lawsuit abuse because of our unreformed, out-of-control lawsuit system. It is the latest blow to our efforts to keep doctors, recruit businesses, and attract new jobs. Unfortunately, Oklahoma’s bad national publicity will continue until we enact meaningful, comprehensive lawsuit reform,” stated Senate GOP Leader James A. Williamson, R-Tulsa.
“HB 2661 was a total sham. No one in Oklahoma or around the nation is buying the Democrats’ line of baloney that this was ‘the most extensive lawsuit reform measure’ in history. I’m surprised that Democrat leaders can actually keep a straight face when they say it. The word has gotten out that HB 2661 is not real lawsuit reform – it could more appropriately be called The Trial Lawyer Protection Act of 2004,” said Sen. Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, the Senate’s Republican leader-elect.
Williamson and Coffee renewed their call to Gov. Brad Henry and Democrat legislative leaders to pledge to ignore the six-year moratorium on lawsuit reform and agree to allow meaningful lawsuit reform legislation to pass in the next legislative session. To date, Democrat leaders have refused to say whether they will allow real lawsuit reform legislation to be considered by the Legislature next year.
“The Legislature and the governor are not part of the moratorium agreement, so the moratorium is only enforceable if Gov. Henry and Democrat legislative leaders choose to honor it. Republicans didn’t agree to any moratorium, so I can guarantee we will push hard for meaningful lawsuit reform next year,” Coffee stated.