The American civil justice system is the most costly in the world. Litigation costs affect the ability of businesses to compete and prosper. By adding rationality and predictability to the American civil justice system and rooting out unnecessary expenses and abuse, civil justice reform can increase confidence in the economy, help businesses expand, and create jobs. Such reforms can also increase respect for the judicial system, which is too often characterized by liability that is disproportionate to responsibility, inconsistent outcomes, and jackpot verdicts.

101 Ways to Improve State Legal Systems: A User’s Guide to Promoting Fair and Effective Civil Justice – Sixth Edition 2019 offers some of the many options available to foster a sound legal system that promotes states’ economies. It considers fair and effective measures that would safeguard the integrity of the litigation process, promote rational liability rules, addresses over-regulation and enforcement, improve product liability law, and rein in excessive awards.

This user’s guide to state legal reforms considers key issues confronting policymakers. For example, when government officials hire contingency fee lawyers, what safeguards will ensure that law enforcement is driven by the public interest, not the financial interest of attorneys with a stake in the litigation? What role should a business’s compliance with government safety standards play in product liability litigation? How can the law address damages that exceed actual losses, pain and suffering awards that have become the largest part of tort damages, and punitive damage “run wild”? This report answers these questions and more.

Among the new legal reform options included in this Sixth Edition of the report are proposals that:

  • Enable states to discourage or control litigation brought by local governments when those actions duplicate or threaten to impede state enforcement efforts
  • Stem the proliferation of misleading lawsuit advertising that may needlessly frighten people into ceasing or modifying their prescriptions or deter them from seeking treatment altogether
  • Encourage the adoption of meaningful data privacy and security safeguards that protect sensitive consumer information without enabling no-injury class action lawsuits or discouraging the development of useful, innovative technologies