U.S. Needs More Jobs, Not More Lawsuits; Red and Blue Voters Are United on Need for Litigation Reform

Article excerpt

Byline: Chip Hough and David Houston, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Politically, California and Texas are worlds apart. Despite their blue state, red state ideological differences, the residents within those states share the common goals of robust job creation and a vibrant economy. The stories of these two states, however, are remarkably different.

While lawsuit reforms have played a key role in Texas' economic boom, California, which has failed to pass such reforms, remains mired in the economic doldrums with consistently high unemployment and tepid job creation. The economic dichotomy that exists between these states can be bridged by eliminating partisan politics from the equation. For too long, legal reform has been viewed through a Democrat vs. Republican prism. In fact, it's an economic issue.

The good news is that in the midst of the political knuckle-dragging, when it comes to lawsuit reforms, Americans get it. The American Tort Reform Association and Sick of Lawsuits recently conducted a national survey that found 9 in 10 Americans think lawsuit abuse is a problem. Moreover, 73 percent of Americans - across the political spectrum - are more likely to vote for a candidate for public office who supports lawsuit reform.

As small-business owners from very different parts of the country, we have seen firsthand how legal reform can provide a boost to the economy and how the lack of legal reform can hinder economic growth. Texas once had the biggest lawsuit-abuse problem in the country. Aggressive personal-injury trial lawyers played the courts like a litigation lottery. Businesses, including medical practices, were crushed by the costs of excessive litigation, and many simply stayed away, costing the state jobs and economic growth.

In response, Texas passed several significant legal reforms to introduce common sense into the civil justice system. Those reforms have helped the state create and retain jobs, enabled small-business employers to prosper and improved access to health care. …