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Understanding tort reform and its potential consequences, Part 1

In any area of public concern, lobbyists, politicians, big business, and pundits alike, often turn to catchphrases that serve to undermine open and full discussion over a specific topic. As our nation is struggling to find ways to address the rising cost of healthcare there are some who suggest that tort reform is necessary to protect public health.

Tort reform is not a new concept. The phrase itself, however, suggests that a problem exists that needs correcting. The slogan, tort reform, was devised in order to entice individuals to waive an indispensible constitutional right.

Understanding the importance of the jury in civil trials, Part 2

The United States has a long tradition of respecting the right to have a jury of peers participate in resolving disputes. Few other countries look to juries to decide facts, relying on other systems involving government authorities to decide the fate of people in criminal and civil cases. In the last post we discussed the foundation of our jury system in civil cases in the United States. Here, we will discuss the importance of the jury in preserving freedom and democracy.

Controlling Special Interests And Partisan Politics In The Jury Room

The founders believed that the right to a jury was indispensable. As we mentioned in the last post, partisan politics often create strife in the election process. Special interests have a strong voice in state legislatures and Congress. New laws are frequently enacted in a knee-jerk response to a single event to apply blanket restrictions or limits on the freedom of the people based upon a single event, without regard for the unique facts of that event, leading to unintended consequences under different facts in a future case.

Understanding the importance of the jury in civil trials, Part 1

As we move into 2017, the political landscape across the country remains in turmoil. Last year experienced a tumultuous campaign that people on both sides of the aisle agree highlighted that a strong partisan rift exists in America. In fact, in naming "The Person of the Year" in 2016, the cover of Time Magazine indentified the country as the "Divided States Of America." It is no secret that partisan politics are often driven by special interests. The courts, on the other hand, are supposed to mete out justice without regard to partisan politics, special interest pressures and government oppression.

A Jury Is The Voice Of The Local Community In Serving Justice

Before our country was founded, the colonists in North America were governed under the law of England without representation in the British Parliament. Most people are familiar with the story of the Boston Tea Party as a protest against taxation without representation. However, the roots of the jury in America in certain civil cases are also tied to the lack of representation in parliament. Cases at law in the colonies involved a jury of peers who decided the facts according to local customs and understanding of the law - standing between the power of the King and the colonists.

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