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The U.S. civil justice system costs the national economy $865 billion a year, according to a study of U.S. tort costs released Tuesday.
"Jackpot Justice," prepared by the Pacific Research Institute, a San Francisco-based free-market think tank, took into account what its authors considered to be both direct and indirect costs of the tort system.
Among the indirect costs attributed to the tort system are those associated with so-called defensive medicine and "lost sales of new products from less innovation." Those lost sales alone amounted to $367.1 billion, according to the survey.
The National Assn. of Manufacturers hailed the study, which was released by the American Justice Partnership in partnership with PRI. "This study represents the most ominous figures to date on the adverse economic impact of our runaway tort system," said NAM President John Engler in a statement. The AJP is a coalition of tort reform organizations founded by the NAM in 2005.
A spokeswoman for the American Assn. for Justice, a Washington-based organization that represents the trial bar, called the study "more propaganda from big corporations seeking to evade accountability."