Comprehensive Tort Reform to Be Debated in SC Senate
January 27, 2015
COLUMBIA, SC - On the first day of the legislative session, South Carolina Senator Shane Massey introduced two comprehensive tort reform bills, The Court Transparency Act (S.281) and The Liability Reform Act (S.282), aimed at balancing the South Carolina civil justice system. The bills seek to ensure reasonable levels of liability for South Carolina businesses and landowners, while setting definitive processes for determining the merits of a case and the legitimacy of the evidence being presented. In addition, the bill sets strict parameters and oversight for hiring outside attorneys to represent the state.
Senator Shane Massey noted,
“Lawsuit abuse is a detriment to our state’s economy. A coherent adjudication process requires strict criteria for an individual filing a suit and ensures that all evidence relevant to a case is admissible. Certifying that a case has merit before it enters the courtroom and bringing all relevant information to the table levels the playing field and protects South Carolina taxpayers from frivolous lawsuits. I urge my fellow senators to work with me to ensure that all South Carolinians are protected from the abuse and manipulation of our justice system.”
The following are some of the provisions found in S.281 and S.282:
- Transparency in Private Attorney Contracting
- Asbestos Litigation Transparency
- Seatbelt Admissibility
- Trespasser Responsibility
- CDL Employer Protection
Ted Pitts, President of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, underscored,
“Frivolous lawsuits hurt South Carolina businesses and their employees. Property owners and businesses acting in good faith must be protected from onerous legal attacks,” said Ted Pitts, president and CEO of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce. “When South Carolina’s businesses do well, South Carolina prospers, and that is why we must continue to work to improve our state’s legal climate.”
A study released by the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) revealed that 89% of Americans believe lawsuit abuse is a serious problem. Civil justice reform is a non-partisan issue that is expected to see exponential growth in interest throughout the country and South Carolina.
The South Carolina Civil Justice Coalition will be working with many business partners around the state to push for passage of these critical reforms, and help balance our SC civil justice system.