Republican calls on Calif. lawmakers to enact tort reforms

Chris Rizo Sep. 18, 2009, 2:37pm


Curt Hagman (R)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)--Enacting legal reforms in California would help save jobs and jumpstart the Golden State's sluggish economy, a Republican leader said Friday.

State Assemblyman Curt Hagman, R-Diamond Bar, in an op-ed called on his legislative colleagues in the Democrat-led Legislature to pursue efforts to curb frivolous lawsuits and enact other legal reforms.

"Now is the time for Democrats in the California Legislature to focus efforts on improving California's business climate and reforming our legal system to save jobs," he said. "Many Californians have lost their jobs in the past year and many voters are making the connection that unwarranted lawsuits are costing jobs."

Hagman, the Assembly minority floor leader, pointed to a recent survey by California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, which indicates 81 percent of Californians say they believe the number of lawsuits filed against businesses in California hurts the state economy.

Moreover, 63 percent of respondents said they believe lawsuit reform will make it easier for California to keep businesses from leaving the state.

"The consequences of lawsuit abuse are widespread and serious, and negatively impact both the private and public sectors," Hagman said, noting that local governments in five Southern California cities and counties spent more than $276 million in settlements, verdicts and outside counsel costs over the last two years.

"This completely unnecessary expenditure could have been used for needed public services or infrastructure," he said.

Hagman noted that Nevada and Texas, for instance, are trying to woo California businesses to their states by, among other things, touting their legal climates and lowering worker compensation costs.

"Doing business in the 'sue you' state of California is a gamble with so many plaintiffs' lawyers playing the lawsuit lottery with small businesses. The end result - Nevada's revenue increased by nearly $5 billion," he said.

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