N.J. tort reform group says state's poor ranking no surprise

John O'Brien Jun. 8, 2010, 9:23am

TRENTON, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - A Pacific Research Institute study that ranked New Jersey's as the most worrisome tort system is proof reform is needed, a group dedicated to that effort said Monday.

Marcus Rayner, the executive director of New Jersey Lawsuit Reform Alliance, was troubled by the study, which analyzed tort costs and risks, among other things. Neighbor New York followed New Jersey at the bottom, while Alaska ranked at the top.

"Dead last is an unacceptable position to be in for New Jersey as we try to attract and retain jobs," Rayner said.

"It is becoming increasingly clear that tort reform is a critical component of our state's economic growth."

New Jersey also popped up on the American Tort Reform Foundation's Judicial Hellholes report late last year. The report singled out Atlantic County.

In the PRI study, states were ranked based on plaintiff awards and settlements, the amount of lawsuits, tort rules and reforms like award caps, venue reforms and judicial-selection reforms.

Oklahoma was credited for passing a comprehensive tort reform package passed in 2009.

"The Pacific Research Institute's study is a sobering reminder that New Jersey needs to bring civil justice reform to the forefront," Rayner said.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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