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Tort Credits

Reduce litigiousness by giving everyone a finite number of lawsuit "credits"
  (+2, -7)(+2, -7)
(+2, -7)
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Let us establish a "tort bank" for each citizen. At birth--or when this law comes into effect--each citizen is credited with 5 lawsuits. Each time a citizen brings a lawsuit, one "credit" is subtracted from his account.

Credits can be bought and sold on the free market; if you don't think you'll be suing much, you can sell one or all of your credits at the going rate. Those who are litigious will be the buyers. Oh, one more thing: corporations start with zero credits; they must purchase a credit from a real, live human in order to sue.

Defendants do not lose credits when involved in a suit--only plaintiffs.

Note: I am well aware that this idea would require a Constitutional Amendment. This is because it (apparently) violates "due process" and "equal access to the law". Fine. Such an Amendment has slight chance of being proposed or ratified--primarily because the lawyers would do anything to prevent it. That alone argues that it is a wonderful idea.

boris, Sep 09 2000

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       Is the problem really that a lot of people are creating multiple lawsuits? I would be curious to take all pending "frivolous" lawsuits and see how many people have more than one going ( or a history of them). I am sure there are some people who do this, but the bigger problem might be the number of people who do it only once. I think the problem is that there is usually nothing to lose when you sue someone.   

       I was always a big fan of implementing a law that says if you sue someone and you lose (or if it is determined to be frivolous by a judge or jury) then you are responsible for all defense cost incurred by the person you are suing.
blahginger, Sep 09 2000
  

       In at least some parts of the U.S., if you sue someone, lose, and the judge rules the lawsuit to have been frivolous, you can then be sued by the plaintiff for recovery of their legal costs.
Uncle Nutsy, Sep 09 2000
  

       What this will result in is a more common resort to extralegal means of settling disputes. Which is all well and good if you think that, without the law, people would resort to ADR rather than a shotgun.
bookworm, Sep 09 2000
  

       IIRC the UK has the rule that loser pays all costs, and it discourages well-founded cases as well as frivolous ones. There are plenty of truly hard, ambiguous questions that should be tried publicly and with due process.   

       And the other problem with the five-tort rule is that by definition some people are unluckier than others, and making them *pay* for their bad luck is worse than putting up with overly litigious people.   

       (I think overlitigiousness is exaggerated by the press, anyway - the NYT did a follow-up of five of the famous foolish lawsuits and found them rather less foolish than popular stories had it. Also corporations love the idea of limiting lawsuits. Ech.)
hello_c, Sep 09 2000
  

       Hmmm, now the ACLU & the like will be asking for credit donations as well as cash.   

       Are foreign investors allowed to buy them? Are there going to be futures & derivatives?   

       The market is likely to get pretty strange, as old folks sell their remaining credits to retire & are promptly screwed by nursing homes.   

       Does this include suing the government? If so,the FOIA office can pretty much shut down.
tenhand, Sep 10 2000
  

       Tenhand, I see no reason to answer "no" to any of your interesting questions.   

       Whatever. It can hardly get worse than the present system, which was evidently designed by lunatics.
boris, Sep 17 2000
  

       Oh, it could get much, much worse...   

       The current system wasn't "designed by lunatics". It wasn't really "designed" at all; it was evolved over time and precedent, molded by the precedent-setting decisions of countless judges. All told, it could be much worse.
egnor, Sep 17 2000
  
      
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