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Tort reform package advances

As anticipated, the tort reform package was reported out of the House Courts of Justice full committee on Jan. 28, without further substantive discussion.

Del. Dave Albo, R-Springfield, exercised the prerogative of the chair to reflect on the process that brought the bills this far.

The tort reform bills have been a “darn nightmare,” he said. “I’ve been here for 20 years, with everybody getting along, then all of a sudden,” people are finding things they don’t like, and starting to pick the system apart. The reform effort gained momentum this year, despite trial lawyers’ protests that Virginia’s highly regarded civil justice system is not hostile to business.

“It’s like a big Jenga” puzzle,” Albo said. “You start picking at the pieces, it all falls down.”

Albo congratulated all the parties for their hard work on the tort reform package. In other states, he said, doctors and trial lawyers are “mortal enemies” and it would be “a grudge match to the death.”

Here they know how to work together to get things done, Albo said. On the other hand, he expressed the committee’s hope that peace would prevail and they would not have to revisit tort reform any time soon.
–Deborah Elkins

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