The Supreme Court of Florida delivered withering criticism (h/t Tammy Metzger JD MA) of the industry backed efforts enacting “tort reform”. Part of a decades-long, intellectually dishonest campaign by corporate interests to limit their responsibility through the age-old tort system. Citing mounting evidence impugning the public explanations provided by proponents of tort reform, the opinion is an education. Below is a key highlight if you want a simple explanation for big business’ motivation for the wars fought over “tort reform”.
“The most recent records and reports of the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, and the annual reports of medical malpractice insurers, confirm that not only has the number of insurers providing medical malpractice insurance coverage increased, … the profits would probably shock most concerned.”
“Indeed, between the years of 2003 and 2010, four insurance companies [The Doctors Company, Mag Mutual Insurance Company, ProAssurance Corporation, and First Professionals Insurance Company] that offered medical malpractice insurance in Florida cumulatively reported an increase in their net income of more than 4300 percent….”
The political motivation for tort reform is somewhat of an open secret, and not even directly linked to the profitability of insurance companies.
A similar dynamic fueled the tort-reform push of the mid-’90s. This one was a twofer: Tort-lawyer bashing had always been a reliable applause line for Republican politicians, but in 1994 conservative ur-strategist Grover Norquist pointed out that the big losers in tort reform are trial lawyers, and trial lawyers contribute huge amounts of money to the Democratic Party. “The political implications of defunding the trial lawyers would be staggering,” he wrote. After that, the tort-reform movement exploded. — What the Union Fight is Really About: Defunding the Left
This is all relevant in North Carolina, and probably why we hosted the most expensive political campaign in 2012 for a seat on our Supreme Court. There are four seats up in 2014. Political donors have this issue the Florida Supreme Court just dispatched on their minds.