In Spite of Clinton, Tort Reform Legislation Becomes the Law of the Land

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It was clear that the House had the will and the votes to override President Clinton's surprise veto of the securities liability reform legislation which would give major relief to the heavy burden of joint and several liability. And override the veto it did in a resounding 319 to 100 vote with 90 Democrats joining Newt's gang just hours after Clinton demonstrated his strong allegiance to the trial lawyers by rejecting the legislation. But it was not so sure a thing in the Senate. Those maintaining a tally of the position of each of the Senators expected a one or two vote margin, which could go either way. On Friday, December 22, 1995, the Senate voted 68-30 to also override the veto.

Finally, one of the covenants of the Contract with America became law. The final bill is closer to the Senate version than the one passed by the House. The safe harbor provisions-a major aspect of the legislation-do not provide the broad brush of protection nor extend to information in historical financial statements. …