Leading Scholars Find Pacific Research Claims "Highly Dubious"

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Leading Scholars Find Pacific Research Claims "Highly Dubious" 

For Immediate Release: July 2, 2008

Contact:  Ray De Lorenzi
202.965.3500, x369

Washington, DC—An analysis by three leading academics has found Pacific Research Institute's (PRI) "tort tax" claims are "without scientific merit and present a very misleading picture of the American tort system and its costs."

Tom Baker of University of Pennsylvania Law School, Herbert Kritzer of William Mitchell College of Law, and Neil Vidmar of Duke Law School authored, "Jackpot Justice and the American Tort System: Thinking Beyond Junk Science." The report debunks figures that appear in PRI's annual "state tort index and rankings."

"This analysis sheds light on fictitious claims that, unfortunately, have been used to undermine the importance of the civil justice system," said American Association for Justice President Kathleen Flynn Peterson.

The professors took PRI to task on multiple accounts, calling their work "advocacy disguised as science," "pure fiction," "lack[ing] scientific merit," and containing "highly dubious extrapolations."

The law professors also exposed the source of PRI's calculations – a discredited study by insurance consultant Tillinghast Towers Perrin. According to the analysis, "Not one of the numbers included in the table of tort costs in the report comes from a ‘prestigious academic publication’ or was subject to peer review by independent experts."

Unlike PRI's index, "Jackpot Justice and the American Tort System: Thinking Beyond Junk Science" was critiqued via a blind peer review. To read a full copy of the analysis, visit: http://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=1152306.

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