A recent survey of Texas judges shows that runaway juries and frivolous lawsuits are in large part fictional events and that tort reform legislation was not necessary. To evaluate the nation’s need for tort reform, Baylor Law School researchers surveyed a broad sample of trial judges.
All 389 judges in Texas at the time of the survey received detailed questionnaires, and 78% of them participated. Their responses demonstrate that tort reform advocates, at least in Texas, have made many unfounded claims regarding the need to cap jury awards. 83% percent of responding judges reported that in the last 2 years, they had not seen a single “runaway” jury verdict. In fact, 58% believed that juries awarded damage amounts that were inappropriately low many times.
The report also addresses the impact of many popular tort reform anecdotes that are misleading or fabricated. It was published in the Spring 2007 issue of the Baylor Law Review.