The Spectacle Blog

Legal Day #2 for Rudy Team

By on 7.18.07 | 11:31AM

Rudy seems to be on a legal roll, building on his announcement yesterday with a policy statement on reducing frivolous lawsuits. This does three things: 1) Extends his story on judges another day; 2) cements his outreach to legal and fiscal conservatives and 3) differentiates himself from Fred Thompson who has opposed tort reform. Here is the list:

Discourage Frivolous Suits:  Reform the federal court rules to give courts more discretion to quickly dismiss lawsuits through summary judgment.  Shift the cost of excessive discovery outside the presumptive limits to the party requesting it, and reform the rules to require losers to pay costs and fees if they cannot meet the burden of demonstrating a good faith basis for the suit. 

Reduce the Burden and Cost of Civil Lawsuits:  Reform the civil discovery rules to lower presumptive discovery limits, institute strict time limits for the discovery process, require more court supervision of burdensome requests, impose real sanctions for discovery abuses, and encourage all courts to hear cases as quickly as the so-called “Rocket Docket.” 

Encourage Fast Resolution of Suits Through Alternative Dispute Resolution:  We should explore various options for alternative dispute resolution in an effort to alleviate court congestion.

 

Cap Non-Economic and Punitive Damages:  Set limits on punitive damages and non-economic damages and set a higher burden of proof on plaintiffs seeking non-economic damages in cases in which the defendant had already offered to pay economic damages.

 

Encourage Uniform Standards:  Create guidelines of reasonable conduct that could serve as a presumptive safe harbor in certain types of cases, such as products liability or mass tort lawsuits.  

 

Create PresumptiveSafeHarbor for Government Approved Decisions:  Create a presumptive federal safe harbor for products that are approved by federal safety agencies such as the FDA, except in cases of fraud or similar wrongdoing.

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