Fewer Suers

A short-circuited attempt at electricity deregulation has tarnished California's reputation as a trend-setting state. But there's one development that may restore its hopeful status: Californians are suing each other less often.

The number of major personal injury suits in the state is currently down by nearly 50 percent compared with a decade ago. Small-claims cases are also way down.

Is the litigious society becoming less litigious, with California in the lead?

The picture isn't quite that simple, as a report in the Los Angeles Times makes clear. Some historians see cyclical ups and downs in lawsuits. Tort-reform advocates, for their part, are quick to point out that the average size of punitive damage awards is still growing. And it takes only a few really big ones to cement the public perception of runaway lawsuits.

Still, the downward trend is welcome. It suggests people with disputes may be finding less-contentious ways of settling them, perhaps through mediation or arbitration. Companies may be building safer products, too - especially vehicles.

Thanks, California, for having a rolling blackout on needless lawsuits.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

Share this story:

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK