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Glen Coffee's plans for the Oklahoma Civil Justice System

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Mr. Coffee claims he is for promoting a growing Oklahoma. However, in the same paragraph in which he touts support for a “job-rich environment by fighting for real lawsuit reform, comprehensive worker’s compensation reform (additional that is),” he says he wants to “demand financial accountability” for government.

Do we not hold big business and big insurance to the same standards as we hold ourselves? If financial accountability is what the OKlahoma GOP leaders really want, then why do they insist we pass 200 pages worth of changes to our legal system in the name of corporate interests and at the expense of the people’s rights?

Coffee’s Tort Reform bill is filled with major changes to the court systems in Oklahoma and is very similar to the way the Texas Legislative and Executive Branches changed the face of the Judiciary for the benefit of the big business and big insurance interests that fund their party.

This bill touts hard caps on non-economic damages in all cases (300K), hard caps on punitive damages in all cases (2 million), and major changes to the burden on a severely injured individual or injured individual’s loved one’s ability to file suit in our court system. But thats just the start.

He also wants the QE Report Requirement back in in medical cases AND products cases-increasing the burden of an aggreived party to file;

he wants to make evidence of Insurance coverage in a civil suit no longer discoverable to the Plaintiff so that Insurance companies can play hide and seek with coverage issues in civil cases to limit exposure;

he wants the total elimination of joint and severable liability-which promotes a company not purchasing insurance in order to avoid responsiblity;

he wants the recovery of medical bills in all civil cases limited to what was actually paid (by Medicaid/Medicare or Insurance) and not the actual full amount billed by the health care provider in order to further strengthen big business’s clutch on Medicare/Medicare reimbursements and health care costs;

he wants to limit Hospital damages to $500K when care provided for no charge at the expense of the uninsured and poor;

he wants the elimination of the collateral source rule (including making admissibilie the evidence of life insurance proceeds in all death cases) to futher cloud the evidentiary standard in civil cases in favor of all Defendants and to punish those who purchase life insurance in the event of wrongful death as a result of the negligence, gross negligence or intentional conduct of a tortfeasor;

he wants the elimination of pre-Judgment interest in all cases-which further promotes an insurance defendant to drag out the inevitable ajudication of civil cases to further clog the courts and delay financial exposure;

(here’s a great one) he wants, in all cases in which future damages of 100K or more are awarded-a requirement that the court order periodic payments to individuals of awards and settlements to further foster the relationship between insurance companies and financial interests which control anuities and bottom line earnings (keep in mind big insurance’s bottom line is earnings on their money on top of their aleady sky high profits;

he wants to broaden the peer review privilege (basically nothing would be admissible if called peer review) to promote the hiding of relevant evidence of internal interdisciplinary risk management and standards for insurance companies and their insureds in all cases;

he wants to totally change our products liability court procedure in favor of big business, big drug comanies, and big insurance;

he wants sweeping venue and jurisdictional changes that strongly favor foreign corporations doing business in Oklahoma and which make it more difficult and expensive to file civil cases;

he wants the elimination of “Forum Non Conveniens” so that civil Defendants can decide where to file cases on the basis of their conveience at the expense of a Plaintiff

he wants the elimination of “Forum Non Conveniens” so that civil Defendants can decide where to file cases on the basis of their conveience at the expense of a Plaintiff’s balanced right to decide where to file cases; and

he wants to limit punitive damages and change the standards for juries to award punitive damages in cases (only intentional or impaired conduct as opposed to proven reckless or grossly negligent action) to further limit liability for responsible tortfeasors.

To name a few.

Our Founders established separation of powers in our government for a reason…to keep a balance between each branch and foster an environment of enterprise and at the same time accountability. Coffee’s Texas Plus Plans for our judicial system are nothing more than insurance company and big business liability protection and financial promotion.

Government autonomy and financial accountability are supposed to be two of the foundations of conservatism.

Coffee, GOP leadership’s and, unfortunately, a majority of the politician’s supporting and promoting of so-called tort reform (or what it should be labeled-self promotion for party reasons), stands in the face of these ideals . It also contradicts reason and factual basis.

Abraham Lincoln is rolling over in his grave.