Friday, May 1, 2009

Arkansas Supreme Court eliminates "the empty chair defense" and more

In a defeat to tort reformers, the Supreme Court of Arkansas has declared two provisions in the state’s 2003 “tort reform” law unconstitutional. The opinion is available here. The opinion examined a section of the law that required factfinders to consider the fault of non-parties (the so-called "empty chair defense") or as The PopTort Blog describes it "a provision which allowed wrongdoers who are sued to point the finger at others who aren’t named in the suit (i.e., the “don’t look at me, it was some other guy who isn’t here,” defense). The court also disallowed a provision, which limited the kinds of evidence a court could hear holding that those decisions are for a judge to decide—not a legislature. For more on the story go here.

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