Tort reform can be many things to many people. For example, to a Libertarian, it means rolling back Draconian laws that reduce or refuse a tort claim victim’s monetary award. In fact, the government, both state and federal, Republican and Democrat, has consistently passed laws that hurt victims, whether it is the right to keep and bear arms, or how much an injury victim can get in or even out of court. This clearly helps large corporations and certain government agencies, by reducing the amount of money a jury may award a tort victim.
This is the modern definition of so called: “Tort Reform.” Civil Libertarians like Rand Paul have consistently fought to force government back into its Constitutional role of limited powers on issues ranging from gun rights, to victim’s rights.
“…let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” (Jefferson.)
Ted Cruz has been making himself known as one of the Republican presidential runners who supposedly wants “tort reform,” but what you may not know is that while he is a conservative who is “uncompromising,” there is another part of this man voters are learning about. Cruz may just be a civil libertarian like Rand Paul.
Cruz Was a Champion of Tort Victim’s Rights?
Cruz was in fact, a champion of victim’s rights, in a sort of twist on tort reform, in his home state of Texas when he worked as an attorney. As a lawyer, he brought in over $3 million in personal injury awards setting records recovering compensation. The conservative presidential candidate was a talented appellate lawyer, which brought him assignments in New Mexico representing plaintiffs.
Cruz Defended the Rights of Personal Injury Victims
He defended a personal injury victim winning a $54 million award which was the largest compensation obtained in the state history. Cruz represented the daughter of a nursing home patient Barbara Barber, who had been extremely neglected and bled to death. Cruz made it clear to represent the plaintiff the fighting of the appeal of the judgment by ManorCare the operator of the nursing home the compensation award had to be “right.” ManorCare ended up settling the night prior to arguments before the New Mexico Supreme Court in the Barber case.
- Tort Reform Hurt Cruz
Working as an attorney Cruz worked for the solicitor general’s office until 2008, when he joined the Morgan, Lewis & Bockius law firm. Cruz handled cases in Texas often on behalf of corporate plaintiff’s, a state that has strict limits on punitive damages. This resulted in a decline in tort lawsuits for law firms specializing in this area of the law.
- Barber Case
In the Barber case Cruz handled the appeal with lawyer Michael Gross who led the case and Carl Bettlinger. Cruz was asked about a year later to take an appellate case involving ResCare in New Mexico. This was a private chain of group homes for people with disabilities, with the lawsuit involving plaintiff Larry Selk a mentally disabled man. Selk was brutally raped by an employee of the residential group home where he lived. Cruz argued in front of the New Mexico Supreme Court that Selk should have the award of $54 million in damages reinstated that had been reversed by a lower court. The candidate argued was that ResCare settled prior to the court ruling.
According to Carl Bettinger said when Cruz paid Morgan, Lewis & Bockius law firm their share of the Selk settlement, he was already a senator who was making tort reform one of his issues in Washington. Bettinger said if Cruz doesn’t win the election he would be the first attorney he would call in a large money verdict lawsuit.
It is hoped by many doctors that Cruz will be of the normal anti victim’s rights positions that so called conservatives support, and hoped by left leaning Plaintiff’s lawyers that Cruz will stay on the path he was on should be be elected president. Either way, it will boil down to Ted’s definition of tort reform. He may just be that plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer that you can believe in after all.