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American Tort Reform President Speaks at NC Chamber Legal Institute Advisory Council Meeting

| Tort Reform & Legal Climate

Current and emerging civil justice issues were the focus of American Tort Reform Association President Sherman “Tiger” Joyce’s conversation with the NC Chamber Legal Institute’s advisory council last week.

The conversation started with a compliment to the NC Chamber Legal Institute, “It’s nice to be in a non-hellhole location,” Joyce said referring to the American Tort Reform Foundation’s annual recognition of the nation’s Judicial Hellholes® and our state’s competitive legal climate. Joyce then led the group in a discussion about legal issues facing the business community, several of which are top of mind in our 2023 Legislative Agenda.

Third Party Litigation Funding: Outside financiers are allowed to invest in lawsuits in exchange for a cut of the settlement. This practice, called third party litigation funding (TPLF), has quickly become a multi-billion-dollar industry. The NC Chamber Legal Institute opposes anything that could increase litigation costs or anything that provides a false sense of security for the plaintiff to pursue further litigation or go to a jury trial.

American Law Institute: The American Law Institute (ALI), one of the most influential private organizations in the development of American law, publishes legal treatises called Restatements of the Law that assist judges by providing clear formulations of judge-made common law. However, some modern restatements have departed from simply restating existing law and instead provide aspirational rules that reflect the ALI’s position. In alignment with ATRA, the NC Chamber Legal Institute supports legislation that prohibits the modern restatements of laws.

Jury Anchoring: Jury anchoring is a practice in which personal injury attorneys can manipulate juries into awarding inflated noneconomic damages. While noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering are subjective, plaintiff’s counsel can arbitrarily suggest a figure, which juries often focus on as a base or “anchor” for determining the number of damages to award. Along with ATRA, the NC Chamber Legal Institute opposes jury anchoring as the more plaintiffs ask for, the more they tend to receive.

Joyce also elevated concerns about the following legal threats.

  • National Association of Attorneys General
  • Nuclear Verdicts
  • Phantom Damages
  • Locality Litigation
  • Public Nuisance Litigation
  • Plaintiff’s Lawyer Advertising
  • Innovator Liability
  • Apex Doctrine
  • Seatbelt Use Admissibility
  • The Mass Tort Machine

Thank you to Tiger Joyce for sharing his legal expertise with our CLI Advisory Council. To learn more and to get evolved in the CLI’s work to protect our job creators from threats originating within the court system, click here.