State GOP leaders plan to renew push for more lawsuit reform

Sunday, December 18th 2005, 8:33 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Republicans in the state House and Senate say they'll continue pushing for more lawsuit reform during the upcoming legislative session.

During a news conference that included a shouting match at the state Capitol Monday House Speaker Todd Hiett and Senate GOP leader Glenn Coffee outlined their plan for what they say is meaningful reform.

Despite changes to the tort system last year Coffee says Oklahoma remains a -- quote -- ``haven for lawsuit abuse.''

The two say they'll push for hard limits on damages for pain and suffering and will work to reform the joint and several liability rule. The rule allows plaintiffs to go after defendants who have more money regardless of the defendants' degree of liability.

The news conference briefly developed into a shouting match between Coffee and Ken Hartin, an injured worker representing the Working Oklahomans Alliance.

Hartin accuses the GOP leaders of ignoring common Oklahomans who've been injured by companies. Coffee says Hartin's group is front for Oklahoma trial lawyers.