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Agreement Reached on Lawsuit Reform

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State of Oklahoma
/
The Oklahoma State Capitol in Oklahoma City.

By House Speaker Chris Benge (R) Tulsa

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kwgs/local-kwgs-837186.mp3

Oklahoma City, OK – Agreement reached on civil justice plan

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Compromise legislation affecting the way Oklahomans file and litigate lawsuits has been unveiled by Republican legislative leaders.

Lawmakers described Monday's announcement as a historic agreement that will help block frivolous lawsuits and lower medical malpractice and other insurance costs.

The compromise bill was revealed less than three weeks before lawmakers must adjourn the 2009 Legislature. It was forged over months of negotiations with trial attorneys and patient advocacy groups opposed to civil justice requirements that might block Oklahomans' access to the courts.

Gov. Brad Henry described it as a strong piece of reform legislation and perhaps the most comprehensive tort bill in state history.

Among other things it would require a certificate from an expert that a lawsuit has merit before it can proceed and change class-action lawsuit guidelines.

Copyright The Associated Press