Okla. House Committee Approves Republicans’ Lawsuit Reform Bill

March 9, 2006

The Oklahoma House of Representatives Judiciary Committee approved House Bill 3120, the Common Sense in the Courtroom Act, which was proposed by the House Republican leadership. The bill now goes to the full House for a vote.

Speaker Todd Hiett says he expects the Common Sense in the Courtroom Act to win easy passage when it comes before the full House, but passing the Senate is key.

“Lawsuit reform is a major step we must take to attract and keeping good jobs here,” said Hiett. “While surrounding states have passed lawsuit reform, we’ve fallen behind. If we don’t act, Oklahoma’s hardworking families will continue to pay the costs in more expensive healthcare, lower wages and fewer job opportunities.”

“For more than three years, meaningful lawsuit reform has been blocked by powerful trial lawyers,” said Rep. Fred Morgan (R-Oklahoma City), chair of the House Judiciary Committee. “We can only pass true lawsuit reform this year if Senate Democrat leaders will work in a bipartisan fashion to move Oklahoma forward.”

According to Hiett, the Common Sense in the Courtroom Act tackles five major areas of reform: Summary judgments to avoid costly trials; class action reforms; stopping the trial lawyer hunt for “deep pockets” by passing a true proportionate liability rule (joint and several liability reform); medical liability reforms; and common sense protections for business owners (such as preventing lawsuits over choice-based products like fast food).

The complete text of the bill is available through the Oklahoma Legislature Web site at www.lsb.state.ok.us.

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