David Ward, civil justice coordinator for Keystone Progress, recently wrote an opinion piece for the Philadelphia Inquirer in which he defends the civil court system.
Ward’s piece is a response to a report by the American Tort Reform Association, “Judicial Hellholes,” which criticizes an alleged bias in favor of plaintiffs in Philadelphia’s courts.
According to Ward, the Keystone Progress ‘Taking Back Our Courts’ project found that the Philadelphia civil courts are “a model for large urban judicial systems.” He notes that the project used data from official, nonpartisan reports from sources such as the National Center for State Courts, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Ward also cites recent research which contradicted the notion that litigation is bad for business, and concluded instead that higher numbers of civil lawsuits tend to correlate with a robust economy.
Ward also writes about the overall importance of civil courts in safeguarding the well-being of average citizens who don’t have the financial resources of large corporations.
“Those claiming injuries related to Bayer’s Yaz and Yasmin birth control drugs in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey courts, for example, have had a hard enough time getting justice,” Ward writes. “But take away the authority of the civil courts, and any large corporation willing to make big donations to elected representatives can buy its way out of responsibility. When plaintiffs seek justice for harms unfairly inflicted on them, moreover, it helps all of us. Each time justice is sought, companies take note that they will be held accountable if their products cause unnecessary harm.”And when companies take note, they are more likely to take the time and effort to ensure that their products are safe.
See the piece here: http://keystoneprogress.blogspot.com/2012/05/not-guilty-of-hellhole-charge.html