June 5, 2010


Well, here's a little treasure (PDF) from the Pacific Research Institute (aka right wing hatchery of the west). Sarah Palin has written the foreward for their "Tort Liability Index", where she brags about how "reformed" Alaska's tort system is.

Alaska has the second-lowest monetary tort payouts of any state, controlling for the size of each state’s economy. Our tort costs are particularly low for businesses—another reason for entrepreneurs to locate here. We also have some of the lowest medical liability costs in the country. We appreciate doctors in Alaska and welcome them with open arms, not abusive lawsuits.

Imagine that. If the Deepwater Horizon were to have sunk off the coast of Alaska after destroying all the wildlife in the area, they could've gotten off EASY. Because Sarah Palin was all about watchin' out for the doctor and entrepreneur.

I wonder if I could sue for injuries suffered from slamming my head on the desk repeatedly.

Given these sweeping benefits, all states would do well to follow Alaska’s example and enact legal reforms that eliminate lawsuit abuse. The state motto, after all, is “North to the Future.”

It would be irresponsible of me to simply rant about the idiocy of Sarah Palin writing any kind of foreward for any kind of think tank publication without at least looking at this wonderful tort liability climate in Alaska and sharing that information. So I went looking, and what I found is, well...interesting. (Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer)

  • Life has a price - If you die in Alaska as the result of someone else's negligence, the most you are worth is $400,000 or $8,000 times your life expectancy. Period.
  • Grievous injury has a price too - If you are injured or disfigured and the injury/disfigurement is permanent, the maximum you're worth is $1,000,000 or $25,000 x life expectancy.
  • Punishment has its limits, too - If it is found that you have been wronged intentionally, punitive damages may be part of the verdict. Those limits range from a $500,000 maximum for an individual injury to $7,000,000 for intentionally inflicted financial injury (e.g. embezzlement, securities fraud, etc). However, if the issue is unlawful employment practices, the cap drops drastically to a maximum of $200,000 for small employers and $500,000 for employers with more than 500 employees.

Now look at those caps, and think about the 11 employees of BP killed on the Deepwater Horizon and ask yourself whether or not tort reform is such a good thing.

Palin's little foreward and endorsement of these practices just cements her as a straight-up Republican. Nothing to see here, folks, move along.

Oh, and if anyone sees evidence of actual thought going on in the "think tanks", let me know, okay?

(h/t The Daily Dish)

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