|more information about tort reform coming soon|
|originally published in the|
oklahoman’s for responsible justice (orj) is a coalition of thousands of citizens throughout oklahoma, working together to protect the fundamental freedoms on which america was founded.
mrs. b.j. kincade of catoosa is the state chairperson of orj. she says “tort reform” is an assault on every oklahoman’s right to access the judicial system. she is staunchly opposed to tort reform legislation that would allow politicians to dictate a one-size-fits-all-verdict for every lawsuit in every courthouse throughout the state.
“if tort reform passes, facts and juries will become irrelevant because politicians will have already dictated your verdict,” she says.
if it sounds like mrs. kincade is promoting a personal agenda, it’s because she is. mrs. kincade’s commitment to preserving your right to seek justice is horrifically personal.
on april 10, 1989, her son, jim, burned to death after a side-impact collision in his 1984 chevrolet pickup, which had the now infamous side-saddle gas tanks. the collision exploded the unprotected gas tank on impact. his truck went up in a ball of flame. her son had no chance to get out.
mrs. kincade is now known throughout the country as a victim’s advocate on auto safety issues. she has dedicated the nearly fifteen years since jim’s death to educating lawmakers and citizens about auto manufacturing safety and victims’ rights. through orj, she also is educating oklahoman’s about the dangers of so-called “tort reform” legislation.
“bringing to justice one of the top three automakers in the world was like david fighting goliath. but if these so-called ‘tort reform’ laws had been on the books back then, fifteen years after the crash i still would not know what killed my son. i could not have held the company accountable, because i would never have known they killed him.
"because i exercised my right to the justice system, we discovered, and eventually exposed, the company’s deadly business practices. our justice system forced them to produce a safer product. our system undoubtedly saved lives,” mrs. kincade says.
currently, politicians are considering a “tort reform” plan that would diminish our rights to seek justice. evidently, some politicians believe they should have the power to decide verdicts, not jurors in a local courtroom. that’s just bad policy.
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