Friday, December 27, 2013

U.S. Chamber Targets "Lawsuit Abuse"

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is one of the strongest voices decrying what it says is Americans' overreliance on litigation, operating in part through its Institute for Legal Reform (ILR). ILR describes its work:

The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) is the most effective and comprehensive campaign committed to improving the lawsuit climate in America and around the globe.

ILR’s mission is to restore balance, ensure justice, and maintain integrity within the civil legal system. We do this by creating broad awareness of the impact of litigation on society and by championing common sense legal reforms at the state, federal, and global levels.

ILR’s approach is highly aggressive and pragmatic, focused on achieving real change in real time while laying the groundwork for long-term legal reform. ILR’s hallmarks are the execution of cutting-edge strategies and a track record of visible success.
ILR has just released its list of the Top Ten Most Ridiculous Lawsuits of 2013, with a lighthearted YouTube video mocking them.

Of course, the plaintiffs and their attorneys in those suits don't necessarily agree with the Chamber's assessment; a few are quoted in this National Law Journal story.

For a different perspective on civil litigation, see the American Association for Justice's Fighting for Justice pages.

You can also find scholarly assessments of the "litigation explosion," the "malpractice crisis," "tort reform," and so on. Here is a sampling of papers from SSRN:
  • Thornburg, Elizabeth G., Judicial Hellholes, Lawsuit Climates, and Bad Social Science: Lessons from West Virginia (2008). West Virginia Law Review, Vol. 110, No. 3, 2008. Available at SSRN:
  • Eisenberg, Theodore, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Liability Survey: Inaccurate, Unfair, and Bad for Business (September 9, 2009). Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 09-029. Available at SSRN: 
  • La Fetra, Deborah, Freedom, Responsibility and Risk: Fundamental Principles Supporting Tort Reform. Indiana Law Review, Vol. 36, p. 645, 2003. Available at SSRN:
  • Hyman, David A. and Silver, Charles, Medical Malpractice Litigation and Tort Reform: It's the Incentives, Stupid. Vanderbilt Law Review, Vol. 59, p. 1085, 2006. Available at SSRN:
  • Eisenberg, Theodore, The Empirical Effects of Tort Reform (April 1, 2012). Research Handbook on the Economics of Torts, Forthcoming; Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12-26. Available at SSRN:

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