The new Court Statistics Project data from the National Center for State Courts is out. As any good researcher knows, most state courts are useless when it comes to collecting data about cases going through their system, but NCSC found good data in a representative number of 19 states. It found (no surprise) that tort cases as a percentage of the total civil caseload range from a low of 0.9 percent (ND) to a high of 7.3 percent (PA). Or, as researchers succinctly put it, “nowhere do tort cases exceed 7 percent as a percentage of all civil cases.”
So when some politicians argue that the system is flooded not just with tort cases, but with frivolous ones (the rationale behind laws that strip away the legal rights of injured people) you really gotta laugh. What exactly do they want? To get that number down to 3 percent? Or to reach North Dakota’s low of less than 1? No, more likely they want that number of be “0”, so the civil courts can be cleared just for them.
Today, it is being reported that 17 states, led by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, the state's governor-elect, are suing the Obama administration over its recent executive actions on immigration.… Abbott said that Obama's action ‘tramples’ the Constitution."
During his gubernatorial run, Abbot got in trouble – although not enough trouble – when it was revealed that when his “spine was crushed by a falling oak tree in 1984,” he sued and won millions of dollars in compensation. So far, he has received about $5.8 million “and is entitled to monthly income from the settlement until he dies.” Most of what he receives is compensation for “noneconomic losses for pain and suffering and mental anguish.” He eventually went onto the Texas Supreme Court, where he “began adopting tighter standards for losses that involved pain and suffering and mental anguish.” And now he supports all kinds of other so-called “tort reforms” to make it harder for people hurt like he was, to receive adequate compensation or even to sue at all.
“You would think that a young man, at the start of his career, crippled by an injury, would want to make sure that others that may have the misfortune to follow in his footsteps would ensure that those people had the opportunity to be compensated for their injuries in the same way he was,” said Tommy Fibich, a Democratic donor and personal injury lawyer. “He instead closed the door because that would help him get re-elected.”
And he’s also leading a political lawsuit against the President. His hypocrisy knows no bounds. And he’s not the only one. Just a couple weeks ago, "Speaker John Boehner finally went through with the lawsuit he had long promised to file over the administration's implementation of the Affordable Care Act." This is the same body that not only "voted more than 30 times to repeal part or all of the law” but also passed a piecemeal repeal that included Draconian limits on the legal rights of medical malpractice victims.
Litigation seems now to be the preferred method for “tort reform” politicians to do business. The courts apparently should be reserved exclusively for their political complaints, or to recover money for themselves. Sounds like something King George III could get behind!