Corzine, Lautenberg Vote No On Tort Reform - Maintain Solidarity With Trial Lawyers
The tort reform bill requires class-action suits be heard in federal court if less than one-third of the plaintiffs are from the same state as the primary defendant. It also restricts lawyers' fees in "coupon settlements" - cases like the Madison County judgment against Poland Springs bottled water in which plaintiffs were awarded discounts on future purchases while plaintiffs' attorneys received $1.35 million.
Barack Obama, D-Ill., said: "When multimillion-dollar settlements are handed down and all the victims get are coupons for a free product, justice is not being served," he said. "And when cases are tried in counties only because it's known that those judges will award big payoffs, you get quick settlements without ever finding out who's right and who's wrong."
The Senate bill had eight Democratic co-sponsors, among them Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Chris Dodd, D-Conn. They called it a needed reform to known abuses.