National poll finds American public concerned about implications of frivolous lawsuits

Kyle Barnett Aug. 27, 2012, 1:29am


NEW ORLEANS – The American Tort Reform Association and "Sick of Lawsuits" campaign released the results of a national survey showing that a majority of voters believe frivolous lawsuits are harming the nation's economy.

The poll results cut across party lines with 94 percent of Republicans, 89 percent of Independents and 86 percent of Democrats saying lawsuit abuse is a problem.

Melissa Landry, executive director of Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch, a non-partisan watchdog group, said the economic implications of lawsuit abuse are apparent.

"Clearly voters recognize lawsuit reform is not a partisan issue¬–it is a jobs issue–and candidates on both sides of the aisle need to start paying attention," Landry said.

"With 88 percent of respondents saying they want to put safeguards in place to protect small businesses from frivolous lawsuits that could put them out of business, the poll shows voters understand the impact of rampant litigation on our ability to create new jobs and opportunities. In essence, they want to see reforms that will lead to more jobs, not lawsuits."

Landry said politicians need to begin implementing legal system reforms on both the national and local levels.

"This fall voters across the state will select a new Supreme Court justice and numerous Appellate Court judges," Landry said.

"While judicial races tend to be very low-profile and usually don't attract a lot of attention from voters, the outcome of these races will have a significant impact on Louisiana's legal environment, so it is imperative that voters get to know all the candidates before they head to the polls."

According to the ATRA poll results, 73 percent of voters said they were more likely to vote for a candidate who supports tort reform, 83 percent believe the liability lawsuit system needs improvement and 78 percent believe lawsuit reform is important in keeping jobs and improving the U.S. business environment.

Also included in the polling data were findings that 78 percent of registered voters say the nation suffers from too many lawsuits, 73 percent said they are more likely to support a candidate who supports liability reforms, 75 percent of voters believe that jury awards for "pain and suffering" should be limited, 60 percent believe lawsuits filed against businesses hurt the economy, 88 percent want safeguards put into place to limit frivolous lawsuits, 60 percent believe consumers are negatively affected by frivolous lawsuits, 72 percent believe the country's lawsuit system makes it more difficult for employers to do successfully do business and 72 percent believe that the implications of lawsuit abuse affect the nation in international business competition.

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