Governor Perry Hosts Authors of National Tort Liability Index
TLR calls Perry 'Greatest Tort Reform Governor in American History'
AUSTIN, Texas, May 15, 2006 (PRIMEZONE) -- Gov. Rick Perry hosted the authors of a national study that links the tort reforms passed under his leadership to the state's booming economy, job market and business growth.
"The success of tort reforms is proven not just by the national recognition Texas is receiving today, but in communities across the state where patients have improved access to health care, workers have greater job security and employers are free to grow with fewer fears of a frivolous lawsuit," Gov. Rick Perry said. "A major reason Texas has one of America's best job climates is because we have the best overall legal climate."
Texans for Lawsuit Reform President Dick Trabulsi called Governor Perry "the greatest tort reform governor in American history. On his watch, Texas has enacted the most comprehensive tort reform of any state, which is why we are now ranked number one."
The U.S. Tort Liability Index, published by the Pacific Research Institute of San Francisco, found that while Texas has some glaring civil justice problems, including the state's notorious "judicial hellholes," the 2003 and 2005 tort reforms have strengthened the state's economy and catapulted it to first place when compared to other states.
TLR Chairman and CEO Richard Weekley said: "The report provides a quantified assessment of the impact of tort reforms in Texas and clear direction for the steps the state still must take to fully restore balance to the civil justice system."
The landmark study weighs a range of economic indicators against 39 variables related to the civil justice systems in every state. Researchers Lawrence McQuillan and Hovannes Abramyan found a clear correlation between a fair and predictable legal system and the state's economic growth, including job creation and product innovation.
"The U.S. tort system is undermining America's economy," McQuillan said. "Using the President's Council of Economic Advisers' methodology, we determined excessive tort costs exceed $198 billion. This is equal to an additional yearly tax of $2,654 on a family of four. Some states, particularly Texas, have done more than others to rein in excessive costs through tort reform."
McQuillan said that Texas captured the top ranking in the study because recent tort reforms resulted in relatively low monetary tort losses and the state has enacted meaningful reforms in asbestos, junk food, the federal standards defense, and rules of evidence.
However Texas ranked last on several other areas of the study including a nationwide comparison of "judicial hellholes" -- those counties in the state that plaintiff attorneys target for trials because they are more likely to get an excessive verdict or settlement. The report specifically pointed to the Rio Grande Valley and the Gulf Coast of Texas.
Texas ranked last on several other factors measured in the study including:
-- the state's failure to impose limits on attorneys'
Will Newton, Texas State Director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses agreed.
"For small business owners, even a single frivolous lawsuit can mean the heartbreaking end of a dream of business ownership. This report makes crystal clear that the state's lawsuit reforms are expanding the state's economic vitality and increasing opportunities at every level. Texas small business owners are sleeping a lot better now and this report shows why."
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CONTACT: Texans for Lawsuit Reform