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Behavioral

2004

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Not So Peaceful Coexistence: Inherent Tensions In Addressing Tort Law Reform, Jeffrey W. Stempel Jan 2004

Not So Peaceful Coexistence: Inherent Tensions In Addressing Tort Law Reform, Jeffrey W. Stempel

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As Professor Michael Green's comments trenchantly remind us, all of this has a familiar ring: insurers and tort defendants claim unfairly escalating liability, plaintiffs' lawyers and consumer groups counterattack, and (for the most part), insurers and defendants obtain some of the relief they seek. The tort reform victories are not so overwhelming as to completely unravel the historical rights of victims or the power of courts generally, but some constriction of rights inevitably occurs. During periods of quiescence, plaintiffs and consumers take back some lost territory through common law victories expanding claimant rights, or through specific legislation. Statutes that permitted …