Attorney General Urges Governor To Veto Lawsuit Reform

Thursday, April 26th 2007, 3:55 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Attorney General Drew Edmondson is calling for Governor Brad Henry to veto a bill that would change lawsuits in the state -- often called "tort reform." Among the changes the bill would limit damages known as pain and suffering to $300,000 and would allow punitive damages only if intentional or gross negligence is found through clear and convincing evidence.

Edmondson says the bill also requires an opinion from an expert within 60 days which the attorney general says would have made the lawsuit against tobacco companies impossible. He says the settlement of the tobacco lawsuit has meant more than $500 million for Oklahoma.

Edmondson says he can't figure out why the state would want to limit its own ability to sue and recover damages when the state has been harmed.

Supporters of the bill say it's needed to help businesses deal with rising lawsuit costs and to prevent high malpractice insurance rates paid by doctors.