For Immediate Release: April 19, 2007
Senator Mike Morgan
Extreme Measure Will Restrict Access
To Justice for Oklahomans
Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan said
Thursday that passage of extreme changes in the state’s
civil justice system contained in Senate Bill 507 will severely
cripple access to justice for everyday Oklahomans.
“I’m disappointed that a majority of the members
of the Senate have chosen today to side with big corporations
and restrict access to the courts for most of the people in
our state. The opportunity to have your day in court is one
of the most fundamental rights in this country. Justice shouldn’t
be a commodity available only to those who can afford it,”
Democratic Floor Leader Charlie Laster pointed out that a year
ago common sense legal reforms that he offered were rejected.
Oklahoma is listed among 18 states with moderate systems of
civil justice by the United States Chamber of Commerce’s
Institute for Legal Reform.
“Isn’t that where our legal system – which
is represented by a set of scales – should be? Shouldn’t
we be striving for balance? The most business-friendly organization
in the country says Oklahoma’s court system is moderate.
This legislation is extreme and will dramatically tip the scales
of justice against everyday Oklahomans,” Laster said.
Morgan also rejected the argument that the extreme changes are
necessary to keep doctors from leaving the state.
“Doctors in Oklahoma pay among the lowest malpractice
premiums in the country. Oklahoma obstetricians play less than
half as much as their counterparts in Texas and Missouri and
only one-fourth the premiums paid by similar specialists in
Florida,” Morgan said. “There is no exodus of doctors
He pointed to the following facts:
• The number of physicians practicing in Oklahoma has
grown by 7.4 percent in recent years;
• The number of new medical licenses issued has grown
by 13 percent;
• And both Oklahoma City and Tulsa are listed by Modern
Physician magazine among the top 75 cities in which to practice
“This is another extreme solution looking for a problem.
We don’t have jackpot justice in Oklahoma. Our doctors
aren’t leaving the state. Big corporations won today and
Oklahomans lost,” Morgan said. “But we’re
not going to give up the fight. We’re going to continue
to work to ensure equal access to justice for everyone no matter
the size of their bank account.”
For more information contact:
Senator Morgan's Office: (405) 521-5605