Touting tort reform before business
Advocates of lawsuit reform are touting the possibility of significant bills to reform the state's laws governing class action and consumer fraud cases, signaling what may become the biggest opening for changes since the 1990s.
A pair of bills introduced this session would limit the cost to post bonds for corporations that are appealing judgments, and would allow the subjects of class-action lawsuits to directly appeal the determination that a "class" exists.
The state's most prominent lawsuit reform advocate may be Marcus Rayner, president of the New Jersey Civil Justice Institute, which launched in 2007 to bolster lobbying on tort reform and related issues.
Rayner said the political climate is shaping up to be good for the bills.
"I think the business community has been impressed with this legislative leadership's interest with helping," along with that of Gov. Chris Christie, Rayner said.
Rayner said tort reforms in other states — including North Carolina, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Texas — increased pressure on New Jersey.
"A climate of excess litigation drives up the costs for everybody, from the business owner to the consumer," he said.