Florida Election and Republican Candidates on Tort Reform

Feb. 2nd, 2012   /   , , ,

Florida Election and Republican Candidates on Tort Reform

Two days ago, registered Republicans up and down the state of Florida(hopefully) went to their respective polling places and cast their ballots for the candidate they think is best suited to go head-to-head with President Barack Obama in November. Florida is a winner-take-all state, and Mitt Romney was the only one basking in the sun.  The breakdown of the results is as follows: Mitt Romney took 46.4% of the vote, Newt Gingrich took 31.9%, Rick Santorum took 13.4% and Ron Paul took a disappointing 7%.  Additionally, 1.3% of Republican voters chose to cast their votes for “another” candidate (either one of the four former-GOP contenders who have since dropped out, or a write-in).

Many commentators and political pundits have argued – and with some substantiation – that the GOP candidate who takes Florida will be the one who takes the nomination.  Given last night’s results, if they’re right, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will be the man going up against our incumbent President.  And, as of the most up-to-date polls, Governor Romney fares quite well against President Obama in a nationwide poll of prospective voters.  So, what would it mean for you if Governor Romney were elected as our next president?  What would it mean if any of the Republican candidates were elected as our next president?  Their views on many issues stand in stark contrast to those of the current Democratic president, but I’d like to take a closer look at their views on tort reform.

The issue of tort reform is one that has come up multiple times in (sometimes heated) debates.  There are opinions being espoused by some of these candidates that we feel it’s important you know about.  For instance, Senator Rick Santorum supported a federal bill that would have put into effect a nationwide ban on lawsuits against gun manufacturers.  It’s no surprise that the man is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, but there’s a big leap from supporting an amendment to the Constitution to outlawing – entirely – lawsuits against some of the biggest corporations in this country that produce the deadliest products available in the U.S. legally.

In contrast, Ron Paul has argued that such issues should be left to the states.  He argues that the Constitution’s Tenth Amendment, which defers unmentioned issues to state legislatures, is evidence that the federal government would be overstepping its boundaries by intervening in the issue of tort reform – something that should be a state issue and a state issue only.

Governor Rick Perry (who has since dropped out of the race and thrown his support at Newt Gingrich) enacted tort reform laws limiting the amount of punitive damages that can be awarded in a medical malpractice case in his state ofTexas.

And finally, let’s take a look at the front-runner, Governor Mitt Romney, who’s thought of as being the most moderate (in the best sense of the word).  Governor Romney has said that he is a supporter of tort reform and opposes “excessive damage awards.”  That’s fine; I think everybody supports excessive damage awards.  The problem is, who’s to predetermine what is “excessive?”  Everything is on a case-by-case basis.  Every incident is unique, with its own set of contributing factors and long-term effects.

Tort reform falls short of true reform – it’s a limiting practice aimed at protecting business from the consequences of partaking in negligent and dangerous activity.  Why would a business spend any more time ensuring that they make safe products if they know that even if they don’t they won’t be getting in trouble?

For questions or comments, please contact us at the Law Offices of Aronberg and Aronberg at 561-266-9191 or emailing us at daronberg@aronberglaw.com.

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