Tort reform advocates hail lawsuit transparency bill signed in to law in Georgia

Ann Knef Jun. 9, 2010, 12:38pm



A leading Illinois tort reform advocate calls a Georgia law that could curtail potentially frivolous litigation as one that "makes sense and protects taxpayers."

Georgia's Transparency in Lawsuits Protection Act, which clarifies when citizens can bring private actions for alleged violations of state regulatory law, was signed into law by Gov. Sonny Perdue, a Republican, on June 2.

The law allows a private right to action only when the state legislation under which the suit is brought expressly allows such a suit, according to an article on the Web site The article also reports that state law previously left the interpretation of a private right to sue to the courts.

Illinois Civil Justice League President Ed Murnane indicated that such a measure would be difficult to pass in Illinois.

"Illinois residents and taxpayers can only dream of government policies that restrict -- rather than encourage -- litigation," Murnane said. "Our legislature, and particularly our court system, have demonstrated that they are more interested in encouraging and promoting litigation, rather than limiting it."

Murnane said the Illinois Supreme Court's decision to knock down the "common sense" medical malpractice reform law stands in contrast to what Georgia's legislature and governor have done.

"It's one of the reasons Illinois is consistently ranked among the bottom five or 10 states for judicial and legal fairness while progressive states like Georgia are pace-setters and are willing to take action that other states have not even considered because it makes sense and it protects taxpayers," Murnane said.

Lisa Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform indicated that the Georgia law is the first of its kind in the U.S.

"Clarity and transparency in legislative intent is critical, especially when bills might crack open the door to frivolous and expensive litigation," Rickard said in a statement. "Under this common-sense law, no new private rights of action will be inadvertently created through legislation unless specifically articulated by the Legislature."

The Record newspaper is owned by the U.S. Chamber.

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