Late last month, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum signed a law stating that judges in the state “may not apply, give weight to, or afford recognition to, the American Law Institute’s Restatement of the Law, Liability Insurance as an authoritative reference” with respect to North Dakota laws and rules. State Sen. Jerry Klein, who cosponsored the bill, said that it was necessary for “protecting what we believe [is] our legislative authority as it relates to our North Dakota insurance laws,” reports the Pennsylvania Record.
North Dakota’s law comes in a context of rising controversy around the American Law Institute in general and its Restatement of the Law of Liability Insurance (RLLI) in particular. The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform has pointed out that some of the ALI’s recent Restatements have strayed from restating what the law is, while instead offering an aspirational vision of what the ALI thinks the law should be.
This criticism is clearly finding an audience. In August of last year, Ohio became the first ever state to enact a flat rejection of an ALI Restatement, with a law establishing that the RLLI did not constitute the public policy of the state. Both Texas and Arkansas are considering similar pieces of legislation.