In an era of strained budgets and scarce public resources, our local, state, and national governments need to prioritize reforming our civil justice system. Tort reform isn’t just about doctors and hospitals; employers of all sizes spend millions of dollars each year on liability insurance, stifling innovation and taking billions of dollars out of our economy. Plaintiffs’ lawyers have discovered that there is a significant amount of money to be made suing businesses, irrespective of whether they caused any harm. The rest of us pay the price, too, as lawsuit abuse drives the cost of doing business even higher.
New Jersey-based businesses are especially vulnerable to lawsuit abuse. The Garden State’s civil justice laws are antiquated and have made us infamous for frivolous litigation, and this distinction has become more pronounced as competing states have enacted reform measures. “Litigation tourism” – the phenomenon in which residents of other states come here to sue because our laws make it easier for them to collect the largest settlements – is not the kind of industry we need here in New Jersey.
A Rutgers-Eagleton survey found that 87 percent of New Jersey businesses with fewer than 500 employees want the state legislature to prioritize reforming our civil justice system. It’s estimated that New Jersey would create 35,000 – 94,000 new jobs by enacting comprehensive tort reform proposals. And the best part about legal reform is that unlike many other ways to stimulate the economy, bringing common sense to our civil justice system doesn’t require a line-item in the state budget.