Nielsen Tort Reform Measure Thwarted on Party Line Vote

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

 (Sacramento) - Assembly Bill 1108, Tort Reform, introduced by Assemblyman Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) was defeated in Judiciary Committee on a straight party line vote yesterday, with all Republicans voting in support. The legislation would have amended the Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) to allow a prevailing party in a legal dispute to claim court costs, not just plaintiffs.

"This is about jobs and the competitiveness of California's economy. The fundamental fairness of requiring the losing party in a legal proceeding to pay the costs incurred by those whom they sue frivolously must be established in our California justice system," stated Nielsen.  "We must strike a balance between plaintiffs and defendants while allowing consumers to bring a legitimate claim of injury before the court."

Opponents of the bill claimed that this (i.e. loser pays) would "tip the scales too far" by allowing equal treatment of plaintiffs and defendants, to which Nielsen replied "Equal protection under the law is just that...equal protection."

Regretfully, similar to many other attempts to reform California's job-killing tort system and create a more business-friendly economic climate, party philosophies and politics have gotten in the way, once again, of creating equal protection under the law for plaintiffs and defendants in cases brought under the Consumer Legal Remedies Act.