Letter to the Editor: What does CALA mean by tort reform?

By The West Virginia Record | Feb 16, 2007

Dear Editor:

When I read stories about CALA (paid guns for the insurance and pharmaceutical industries), I always wonder just exactly what you mean by tort reform.

We have a system in this country that guarantees the people redress. It's a constitutional right. The system is that a person can go to the courthouse and file any suit he or she wishes. The clerk's job is to file the suit -- literally. That's all he or she does, they stamp the document and file it.

After that, it's up to the members of the court system to evaluate the suit for its worthiness. It's up to judges to weed out the frivolous cases based on the the law as argued by, and supporting the position of, the defense.

There are even rules that allow for judges to impose sanctions on attorneys who bring frivolous lawsuits. A person who has a frivolous lawsuit filed against them can countersue for a myriad of claims from intentional infliction of emotional distress to malicious prosecution.

If anything were to be done that would not violate the citizens' right to redress guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, it would be to enact rules whereby a defendant in a frivolous lawsuit can recover from the frivolous plaintiff when their lawsuit is deemed frivolous or harassing in nature. But you can't take away the peoples' right to redress.

So why don't you all stop bitching and offer some viable solutions?

We all know that in the world of the insurance industry and the Chamber of Commerce, bad business, dillatory property owners, robber barrons and other sundry irresponsible and negligent people would never be held accountable (example, gas companies who skim royalties from their customers). But that's not going to happen.

So explain to the people why you think businesses like the Roane County gas company folks should be allowed to cheat and swindle people. And while you're at it, explain just what you would do to stop people from recovering in such situations?

And you all might roll up your sleeves and crack open a few books on the law. Then you wouldn't sound so damn dumb all the time.

Kim Smith

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