Congressional tort reform caucus faces hurdles, observer says

By John O'Brien | Feb 15, 2011


WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - A legal reform proponent says the newly formed Congressional Civil Justice Caucus will have a tough time drumming up support from the current administration.

Six members of the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday announced the formation of the caucus, designed as a bipartisan group that plans to serve as a forum for discussions on problem areas in the civil justice system. Three Republicans and three Democrats, led by Virginia Republican Bob Goodlate and Oklahoma Democrat Dan Boren, make up the caucus.

Groups like Business Roundtable hailed the announcement, claiming it is important to end abusive litigation if the jobs market wants to rebound. Ted Frank -- the founder of the Center for Class Action Fairness and a writer at and the Manhattan Institute's -- looked at it through a different lens.

Any reform the Republican-controlled House of Representatives comes up with must still gain the support the Democrat-led Senate and President Barack Obama.

"Anything Congress passes not only has to go through the gauntlet of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (a steadfast friend of trial lawyers, even at the expense of other Democratic Party constituencies), but must be signed by President Obama, who has shown no stomach for meaningful liability reform, and whose administration has taken several anti-jobs positions to benefit trial lawyers," he said.

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