Shook, Hardy & Bacon Public Policy Co-Chair Mark Behrens and Associate Christopher Appel authored a “2015 Civil Justice Update,” published in July 2016 by The Federalist Society, which reviews significant civil justice reforms from 2015.
The article provides an overview of recent civil justice reform trends, including asbestos bankruptcy trust claims transparency legislation and legislation to provide transparency in state attorney general hiring of private attorneys. The article also discusses recent state legislative efforts to codify the duty of care owed by land possessors to trespassers to prevent the adoption of duty rules that would significantly expand trespassers’ rights to sue. The article further notes the continuing efforts by states to limit appeal bonds in cases involving large judgments.
In addition, the article provides a listing of key civil justice reforms enacted in specific states in 2015. It also examines significant state appellate court decisions from 2015 which upheld civil justice reforms as well as decisions which nullified legislative reforms. Finally, the article discusses several liability-expanding rulings by state supreme courts in areas such as medical malpractice and “market share” liability.