Perspective on Tort Reform from a Minnesota Personal Injury Lawyer

The American Tort Reform Foundation (ATRF) released its 8th Annual report documenting what they refer to as “litigation abuses” in order to identify areas where they feel justice does not prevail and then to provide ideas on how to bring balance and accuracy back to the judicial system in these areas. They refer to the litigation abuses as Judicial Hellholes®.

They claim that in certain areas (cities, counties, or judicial districts) the entire justice system for civil cases is a Hellhole® and biased against the defendants because of the rulings of one or two judges they deem “stray from the law.” Do they even consider how many law-abiding, upstanding, compassionate, dedicated legal professionals they are lumping together and labeling as being less than ethical?

After their initial list of six Hellholes®, there is a list of five areas of the United States to watch — they may descend into hell next year. If that is not enough, they add a list of three dishonorable mentions for what they term “stand-alone abusive practices, unsound court decisions, or legislative actions that create unfairness in the civil justice system.” They call it unfair only because they are on the other side of the courtroom.

Minnesota has been listed in the dishonorable mention because of their borrowing statute. In 2004, the Minnesota legislature enacted a new borrowing statute. The new statute essentially mirrors the previous statute in Minnesota, stating that when a non-resident plaintiff brings a claim in Minnesota, but that claim is based on another state’s laws, the statute of limitations from that state applies. The Minnesota legislature explained that this borrowing statute applies only to claims emanating from incidents that occurred on or after August 1, 2004.

In Fleeger v. Wyeth, the Minnesota Supreme Court simply followed the law. Since the legislature stated that the new law only effected cases occurring after 2004, the old law applied to other cases.

“For ATRF to suggest we are a hellhole simply because we have judges that follow the law rather than cater to special interests reveals a great deal about ATRF. Simply put, they care only about their personal interest not being responsible for their own actions. ATRF is the embodiment of greed.” stated attorney Chuck Slane of TSR Injury Law, a Minnesota personal injury law firm that represents victims and their families. “The Courts of Minnesota have once again risen above the quagmire of political bickering and decided the case upon the law. We can all be proud to live in Minnesota. “

This information is provided as a service of TSR Injury Law, a personal injury law firm that serves the Twin Cities and the state of Minnesota. For help or more information call 612-TSR-TIME.