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Report: Okla. SC tosses lawsuit reform law, deems it unconstitutional

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Jun 4, 2013


OKLAHOMA CITY (Legal Newsline) -- The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the state's lawsuit reform law, adopted in 2009, is unconstitutional.

According to The Oklahoman, the state's high court, in a 7-2 ruling, said the Comprehensive Lawsuit Reform Act of 2009 violates the single subject rule in the state constitution and is unconstitutional "logrolling." "Logrolling" is the passing of legislation containing multiple subjects.

The reform package, which went into effect Nov. 1, 2009, included class action reforms, a cap on appeals bonds, adoption of summary judgment similar to that allowed in federal lawsuits, joint and several liability reforms, product liability reforms, junk science testimony rules, certificates of merit and a cap on non-economic damages.

In 2009, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce called the act "one of the single-most significant legislative packages signed into law this year and a blueprint for all states still in need of tort reform."

The Chamber's Institute for Legal Reform owns Legal Newsline.

The law aimed to curb frivolous lawsuits and reduce court costs.

"This bill is unconstitutional and void in its entirety," the Supreme Court's order states, The Oklahoman reported.

Justice Noma Gurich explained that the law's 90 sections do not reflect a common theme.

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