EDITORIAL : DOWN BUT NOT OUT NEED FOR TORT REFORM PERSISTS.
THE defeat Tuesday of what many members of the legal fraternity termed ``the terrible two hundreds'' (propositions 200, 201 and 202) was disappointing but hardly surprising.
The sponsors of the three measures had a tough sell from the beginning. One reason is that voters in this era of increasingly dysfunctional government are suspicious of measures that seem to reduce their rights - in this instance the right to sue.
The sponsors of propositions 200 (no-fault insurance no-fault insurance, type of indemnity plan, usually applied to automobile coverage, in which those injured in an accident receive direct payment from the company with which they themselves are insured. ), 201 (shareholder litigation An action brought in court to enforce a particular right. The act or process of bringing a lawsuit in and of itself; a judicial contest; any dispute.
When a person begins a civil lawsuit, the person enters into a process called litigation. ) and 202 (lawyers' contingent fees Payment to an attorney for legal services that depends, or is contingent, upon there being some recovery or award in the case. The payment is then a percentage of the amount recovered—such as 25 percent if the matter is settled, or 30 percent if it proceeds to trial. ) failed to convince enough voters that the measures were, on balance, better for consumers than the status quo [Latin, The existing state of things at any given date.] Status quo ante bellum means the state of things before the war. The status quo to be preserved by a preliminary injunction is the last actual, peaceable, uncontested status which preceded the pending controversy. . Supporters of the propositions also were outgunned in the media - especially on television - by the opposition's low-road negative advertising.
Nevertheless, the need for tort and insurance reform won't go away simply because the three propositions failed. Change is essential.
One reason is that the courts are overloaded with litigation, partly because there are few disincentives for filing frivolous Of minimal importance; legally worthless.
A frivolous suit is one without any legal merit. In some cases, such an action might be brought in bad faith for the purpose of harrassing the defendant. lawsuits. Reform is needed to keep the system functioning.
If nothing is done, deserving plaintiffs will be among the first to suffer, since their cases may be put on hold while the courts deal with the explosion in higher-priority criminal cases triggered by the passage of the ``three strikes'' law.
Especially pressing is the need for auto insurance reform.
Opponents of Proposition 200 bombarded the voters with propaganda charging that the measure conflicted with the need to hold people responsible for their own actions.
But what they left unsaid was that a lot of irresponsible people are on the road. California has an estimated 5 million uninsured drivers - and they cause a disproportionate share of the accidents that cause deaths, injuries and property damages.
As it stands now, victims of such accidents often stand little chance of recovering anything unless they pay extra for insurance protecting them from property damage and injuries caused by uninsured motorists. Such protection would have become automatic under Proposition 200, since motorists would have been covered by their own insurance.
Tom Proulx, chairman for the Alliance to Revitalize re·vi·tal·ize
tr.v. re·vi·tal·ized, re·vi·tal·iz·ing, re·vi·tal·iz·es
To impart new life or vigor to: plans to revitalize inner-city neighborhoods; tried to revitalize a flagging economy. California, said that his group believes that the campaign for the propositions ``will pave PAVE Cardiology A clinical trial–Post AV Node Ablation Evaluation the way for responsible legal reform in the Legislature.''
We certainly hope he is right. California's tort-liability laws are too friendly to lawyers and too hostile to businesses - and responsible motorists. It's time It's Time was a successful political campaign run by the Australian Labor Party (ALP) under Gough Whitlam at the 1972 election in Australia. Campaigning on the perceived need for change after 23 years of conservative (Liberal Party of Australia) government, Labor put forward a to level the playing field.