If you have no proof, don't go to court

The Madison County Record Jul. 28, 2015, 4:10pm


Ever wonder how much time you waste doing things that don't need to be done?

Think of the paperwork you have to provide to get permission for something you shouldn't need permission for in the first place, the personal information you have to provide to complete strangers for no apparent reason, the hoops you have to jump through that have no bearing on the goal you're aiming for, etc.

How many times, at school or on the job, have you had to do something that seemed pointless and didn't really accomplish anything?

How much time and money could we all save if we stopped doing needless things?

Sometimes, ironically, the best way to stop or discourage needless and unproductive activity is to require more paperwork.

Ten years ago, the state of Texas identified something that didn't need doing and put an end to it.

People without evidence of illness were filing asbestos and silica lawsuits, clogging Texas courts and causing substantial amounts of time and money to be wasted in the adjudication of unsupported claims.

In 2005, Texas legislators approved a bill requiring asbestos and silica plaintiffs to provide medical reports validating their claims. Tens of thousands of dubious lawsuits were frozen in their tracks as a result.

Thus abated, the suits nevertheless remained on the books, and so in 2013 the Texas legislature passed a law allowing for the mass dismissal of such cases.

A judge in one multidistrict litigation asbestos court has already dismissed roughly 30,000 of these cases. They can be filed again, of course, with the necessary documentation, but odds are that the vast majority are gone for good.

All the time and money that would have been wasted can now be turned to more pressing and productive matters: like finding other needless things to stop doing.

Imagine what we could accomplish in Illinois if we took the same approach!

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