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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

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For Immediate Release: May 10, 2007

Senator Cliff Branan
Senator Cliff Branan

State Takes Another National Hit Because of Governor’s Lawsuit Reform Veto

State Sen. Cliff Branan, principal author of Senate Bill 507, said Oklahoma has received another black eye in the national media because of Gov. Brad Henry’s veto of the comprehensive lawsuit reform legislation. The May 10, 2007 Wall Street Journal article said “Oklahoma loses to Texas—again.”

“Today’s Wall Street Journal said it all. In 2003, we took a major hit after former Senate Pro Tempore Stratton Taylor sent out letters telling attorneys that because Texas had passed such tough lawsuit reform legislation, they could bring their lawsuits to Oklahoma,” said Branan, R-Oklahoma City. “Because of that, the nation’s largest business newspaper was watching what we did with lawsuit reform this year, and they are calling the governor out. If you think this veto doesn’t hurt our pro-growth efforts, think again.”

Branan’s legislation would have made it easier to dismiss frivolous lawsuits and would have eliminated joint and several liability, known as the “deep pockets” rule, making defendants responsible for only their own fault.

“If you buy health insurance, home insurance and car insurance, you are affected by the governor’s veto of frivolous lawsuit reform,” Branan said.

The measure also would have protected teachers from being sued for merely doing their jobs, as well as giving greater lawsuit protection to community volunteers.

“Most of the businesses in Oklahoma are small businesses—mom and pop operations that are crying out for relief from frivolous, expensive lawsuits that can literally force them to close their doors,” Branan said. “Although the governor had said repeatedly he supported lawsuit reform, his veto says otherwise. The Wall Street Journal said that Henry’s veto is hurting everyone who wants to do business in our state. Unfortunately, it’s the truth.”

For more information contact:

Senator Branan's Office: (405) 521-5543

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