On June 4, 2013, the Supreme Court of the State of Oklahoma held that the Oklahoma statutory requirement that an affidavit of merit be filed in actions for professional negligence (medical malpractice) is a “special law” that regulates the practice of law that violates the Oklahoma Constitution’s prohibition regarding special laws and is also an unconstitutional financial burden on access to the courts, in violation of the Oklahoma Constitution. [See our June 5, 2013 blog entitled, “Oklahoma Supreme Court Finds Medical Malpractice Expert Affidavit Requirement Unconstitutional“]
Determined to overturn the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s decision, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin called a special session of the Oklahoma Legislature, at a cost of $30,000 per day, that began on September 3, 2013 and is anticipated to end on September 9, 2013, to pass medical malpractice tort reform and other legislative tort reform initiatives (a total of twenty four tort reform bills) that the June 4, 2013 Oklahoma Supreme Court decision found to be unconstitutional. Many questioned the need for the expensive special legislative session since the regular session of the Oklahoma Legislature begins in February 2014.
Oklahoma House Minority Leader Rep. Scott Inman, who attempted to force a vote to immediately end the special session but was denied the opportunity to make the motion by Republican House leaders, stated, “They are so determined to get their special interest, special legislation passed that they’re going to do all they can to close the process, to not allow any voices of dissent to be engaged in this process [Republicans introduced new rules placing limits on amendments and floor discussions]. That includes even members of their own party … They want us to take up tort reform, which took months and months of negotiations, discussions and settlements. They want us to address it all in less than three hours. That’s disgusting.”
Governor Fallin was quoted on September 6, 2013 as stating, “I’m hopeful and excited that we’ll have a bill on my desk by the first of next week that I’ll be able to sign that will help make Oklahoma more business friendly, to ensure that we can help lower our medical health care costs by the medical malpractice reform that’s in that piece of legislation.”
We ask Governor Fallin these three questions:
1. Who is looking out for the critical interests of ordinary Oklahomans, who elected you and the members of the Oklahoma Legislature?
2. Why are you so hell-bent on subverting the important rights and needs of Oklahomans who are the innocent victims of medical malpractice?
3. What is the moral justification for making Oklahoma “less friendly” to those injured as a result of medical malpractice through no fault of their own?
If you may be the victim of medical malpractice in Oklahoma, you should promptly seek the legal advice of an Oklahoma medical malpractice attorney who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and file a medical malpractice lawsuit on your behalf, if appropriate.
Click here to visit our website to be connected with Oklahoma medical malpractice lawyers who may help you with your Oklahoma medical malpractice claim. If you prefer, you may call us toll-free at 800-295-3959.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.