I have recently written on the number of examples where tort reform has not worked. Workers compensation is a failure, as workers have no right to sue their employers for negligence. Health insurance companies, operating under ERISA laws deny coverage wrongfully, and often, and have no legal recourse. In none of these examples has there been a fair treatment of those injured due to the negligence of another. Instead there has been a compromise of their rights, allegedly for the sake of society.
One frequent argument proposed for tort reform is that a less expensive and more effective method of controlling negligence is through government supervision and regulation. Nothing could be further than the truth as evidenced by the recent Los Angeles Times article on October 21, 2009 investigating Cal OSHA penalties for employer negligence. I invite your review of this article personally becasue I believe it deserves a Pulitzer for fair and in depth investigative reporting by Jessica Garrison.
An employer, Bimbo bakeries in California, had six amputations and a fractured hand at the workplace between 2003 and 2006. Cal OSHA investigated each of these violations, determined them to be caused by a serious failure to abide by safety regulations, maintain guards on equipment and operate the factory safely. Investigators levied fines anywhere from $2000-$21,000. However, the article pointed out that the Cal OSHA appeals boards waived almost all of the fines assessed and levied against this particular employer, not because they found the investigations without merit, but according to Candice Traeger, chairman of the appeals board, a backlog of cases drew a federal complaint causing the board to settle thousands of cases for pennies on the dollar.