Canadian Underwriter

RIMS takes tort reform message to Washington

June 11, 2003   by Canadian Underwriter

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The association representing risk managers headed to Capital Hill this week to discuss the need for tort reform in the U.S.
In the fifth annual “RIMS on the Hill”, Risk and Insurance Management Society leaders are meeting with legislators on a variety of issues. But topping the list are asbestos litigation, class action reform and medical malpractice issues.
Also, RIMS members will be updated on the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act and Litigation Risk Retention Act.
On the subject of tort reform, RIMS position was outlined last week. “RIMS membership is concerned about the societal and financial burdens that result from increasingly unreasonable and unpredictable jury awards granted under the civil justice system in the United States, in particular those in which the award bears no reasonable relationship to the economic damages suffered by the plaintiff,” states the society’s “Principles on Tort Reform”.
RIMS is asking legislators to consider several reforms: limits on, and higher standards for, punitive damage awards; elimination of joint liability for non-economic damages; more severe sanctions for frivolous lawsuits; stricter statutes of limitations and repose; and federal court hearings for interstate class-action lawsuits. Other proposals include: demonstrated material injury requirement for participation in a class-action lawsuit; requiring administrative remedies to be considered before a lawsuit; and allowing interlocutory appeals of class certification decisions.

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