by Max Brantley
We've reported previously that the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce is polling members on their thoughts about an initiated constitutional amendment on 'tort reform' since the Arkansas legislature failed to put one on the ballot.
The measure would make it much harder to sue for damages and likely transfer important procedural control from the courts to the legislature. That way, meddling would be possible as needed tshould a plaintiff still manage to get lucky and win damage recovery now and then.
Want to take what I believe to be the chamber's poll? A friend has provided a link to the survey instrument. Should the link get disabled, I've posted the survey on the jump, too. I think the survey is less about testing sentiment on tort reform — business is FOR — than about testing willingness to pay for the sure-to-be expensive campaign.
I voted as shown.
*1. Are you familiar with “lawsuit reform” efforts in Arkansas, aimed at curbing frivolous lawsuits, and ensuring our civil justice system is fair and balanced?
*2. Thinking back over the last few years, would you say there is:
A) Less abuse of the legal system
B) More abuse of the legal system
C) Abuse of the legal system has stayed the same
3. How important is it to you and your business that Arkansas adopt lawsuit reform measures to reign in frivolous lawsuits and help ensure fairness in our state’s legal system?
A. Very Important
B. Somewhat Important
C. Not Important
*4. Do you think the legislature should be able to pass laws designed to curb abuse in the legal system?
*5. Do you think there should be a reasonable cap on the amount of money a jury can award to compensate a plaintiff for harms such as physical and emotional distress, injuries or loss of life?
*6. Do you think there should be a reasonable cap on the amount of money a jury can award as “punishment” to the defendant?
*7. Rank the following policy issues in order of priority for your business.
*8. Would you be willing to participate in an Arkansas State Chamber-led effort to pass an amendment to the state’s constitution, in order to implement common-sense lawsuit reform in Arkansas?
*9. How would you be most likely to participate in the effort? (Select all that apply)
A. Financial contribution
C. Voter education/outreach
D. Endorsement of your business
E. Other _____
Other (please specify)
*10. What type of business do you have?
*11. How many workers does your business employ?
D) More than 300