Oklahoma Republicans outline their ' Justice and Common Sense' plan

Wednesday, February 2nd 2005, 10:15 am
By: News On 6

Lawmakers say Oklahoma is the capital of "jackpot justice", a place trial lawyers seek out when they want to win big. They say our reputation of paying out is costing Oklahomans.

News on 6 anchor Scott Thompson explains how state House Republicans are trying to put a stop to it.

The state Legislature passed some tort reform just last year, but the new Speaker of the House, Todd Hiett, says he wants more. The Speaker held a news conference Wednesday outlining his plan for "Justice and Common Sense."

He says Oklahoma's reputation as a safe haven for lawyers looking for big settlements is scaring off businesses looking at Oklahoma. He hopes his proposal would cut the number of "junk" lawsuits brought before Oklahoma courts and start scaring off the trial lawyers. "Trial lawyers have made a very good living for a long time off of junk lawsuits, and so there's no question that they're going to fight to the end, but we're prepared to go forward. This is important to Oklahoma."

Oklahoma has had a law on the books for the past 20 years that permits courts to punish people who bring "frivolous" lawsuits.

Lawyers or individuals who abuse the legal system can be punished with sanctions like fines or loss of legal privileges.