Okla. House Passes Comprehensive Lawsuit Reform Package

March 16, 2006

Oklahoma House lawmakers advanced a lawsuit reform package, sending a series of bills to the state Senate for consideration. The package is led by the comprehensive Common Sense in the Courtroom Act.

House Bill 3120, the Common Sense in the Courtroom Act, passed the House by a vote of 58 to 41. Speaker Todd Hiett said Senate Democrat leaders now have the responsibility to move HB 3120 forward.

The Common Sense in the Courtroom Act is a comprehensive measure tackling 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).

“Lawsuit reform has widespread support across Oklahoma,” said Hiett. “I’m hopeful Senate Democrats will do the right thing and support the Common Sense in the Courtroom Act.”

The House also passed several other lawsuit reform measures — each addressing specific areas of reform:

–HB 1896, by Rep. Fred Morgan (R-Oklahoma City), product liability reforms;
–HB 2029, by Rep. Morgan, Education Quality and Protection Act;
–HB 2030, by Rep. Morgan, addressing class action reform.

One other bill was pending before the full House: HB 2477, by Rep. Wade Rousselot (D-Okay), offering civil liability protections for organizations that hold charitable events.

Three other lawsuit reform measures previously passed the House and now await action in the Senate:

–HB 3082, by Rep. Dale DeWitt (R-Braman), the Common Sense Consumption Act.
–HB 3040, by Rep. Chris Hastings (R-Tulsa), protecting 501-C3 organizations from punitive damages if they work with developmentally disabled children.
–HB 2966, Rep. Dan Sullivan (R-Tulsa), provides reforms that restrict inmate lawsuits.

A search mechanism to check the status and text of legislation is available on the Oklahoma Legislature Web site, www.lsb.state.ok.us/.

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.