Editorial - A push for tort reform

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) has nudged the oil and gas industry, along with the rest of American business, toward a showdown over a problem that hurts commerce, burdens individuals, and undermines politics. With his choice of a running mate in his US presidential campaign, Kerry has reinvigorated calls for tort reform.A proliferation of personal-injury lawsuits, many of them filed on behalf of whole classes of defendants, and lavish awards for successful plaintiffs and their lawyers have turned an important part of the US legal system expensively haywire. The inescapable threat of ruinous judgment sabotages energy companies, among others, in at least three ways:• It imposes costs that ...

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