In 2009 (less than 2 years ago), Oklahoma passed what the then-newly-anointed Republican Majority Senate and House Leadership coined “Landmark Comprehensive Lawsuit Reform.”
The agreement is multi-faceted, including several key components of reform which will improve health care access to all Oklahomans, as well as assuring small business’ health and viability in the state.
“I’m very pleased with the agreement,” said Glen Coffee (the then Republican Senate Majority Leader and now, somehow, Secretary of State (We will save that for another day). In May 2009, Coffee proclaimed “Republicans have promised reform of the legal system, the people expect us to deliver, and we have in fact delivered. The spirit of cooperation exhibited by all parties in this negotiation was gratifying, and is indicative of what can be done when people negotiate in good faith toward a mutually beneficial goal,” Coffee continued. “We look forward to sending this historic reform to Governor Henry to ratify the hard work all the parties have accomplished for the state.”
Current House Speaker Benge (who is now acting like 2009 never happened in pushing the GOP’s new Corporate Welfare and Lawsuit Immunity laws) said back in 2009 about the then passed broad sweeping lawsuit reform:
We have said since the beginning of session that lawsuit reform was one of our top priorities, and this agreement represents a huge victory for the people of Oklahoma today. All interested parties have worked together to make this deal a reality and I am proud of the collaboration that has occurred. This legislation will ensure access to the courts for all who have legitimate claims, but will also bring some certainty to a system that has recently become a hindrance to economic development in our state. I look forward to Gov. Henry signing this bill.”
Dan Sullivan, a prominent lawyer for insurance companies and large corporations in Oklahoma and GOP Representative from Tulsa, also said in 2009:
This agreement provides additional protections to the medical and business community from frivolous suits while protecting the right to a trial by a jury of their peers for those that are truly injured.
HOW SOON WE FORGET. Now, the Oklahoma GOP Big Business Republicans, drunk with power in Oklahoma, having swept their way into the Governor’s office and total, unfettered control of Oklahoma, plans to tip the scales of justice completely over in favor of negligent and reckless defendant tort feasors by passing the most broad sweeping and unconstitutional civil justice changes in modern US History. These laws should not and in fact do not appeal to social minded and reasonable Conservative Oklahomans. See Example 1 and Example 2.
The Oklahoma GOP is slithering these bills through at the Capital with very little fanfare and Oklahoma is just sitting back while the bandits are making away with the take. In fact, Most Oklahomans do not know about these additional draconian changes and clearly do not know that not a single one of the “reforms” the GOP are now proposing favor individual Oklahomans- they all favor negligent and reckless civil defendants.
ARBITRARY $250K DAMAGE CAPS THAT RESTRICT JURY AWARDS NO MATTER HOW BAD A DEFENDANT ACTS AND HOW HORRIBLY AND PERMANENTLY AN INNOCENT OKLAHOMAN IS INJURED OR MAIMED = NO ACCOUNTABILITY.
And who bears the burden of this Corporate Bailout/Corporate Welfare?—regular Oklahomans- You, me, our kids, our parents, especially the must vulnerable of all:
- the elderly
- stay at home moms ‘
- lower wage earners like pastors, fireman, police officers, teachers, etc.
According to the Oklahoma GOP, The most damages a jury can ever award these type of Oklahomans, no matter how catastrophic and long-term their injuries may be, is only 250k. 90% of Oklahomans would never support this type of law–yet it will likely sail through the on the backs of the politicians the Chamber put in place, right onto the desk of Mary Failing who will not even read it before she signs it.
After these horrific and unconstitutional bills become law, Oklahomans who have LEGITIMATE CIVIL CASES and whose only avenue for justice is the COURTHOUSE, will be the one’s left out in the cold with no way to get JUSTICE for their loss of quality of life—pain and suffering, disability, inability to earn a living, etc.
The Oklahoma GOP’s new, so-called “Tort Reform” rewards negligent corporations cutting corners for profits, bad nursing homes, foreign produce manufacturers like drug companies and medical device companies, bad doctors, unsafe truck drivers, drunk drivers, texting drivers etc. and their multi-billion dollar Insurance Company allies. All this at the expense of your constitutional right to a non-biased and fair trial by jury of your peers– Oklahoma citizens.
How about we let Oklahoma juries sort out legitimate civil disputes and not well-greased and bought-and-paid-for politicians (who talk out of both sides of their mouths depending on what year it is) and whose only interests they apparently protect are those of the corporate donors who got them elected and will keep them in office.