13 Roger Williams U. L. Rev. 115 (2008)
Reforming General Damages: A Good Tort Reform

handle is hein.journals/rwulr13 and id is 121 raw text is: Reforming General Damages: A Good
Tort Reform
Joseph Sanders*
I. INTRODUCTION
In some conflicts, capturing a phrase is half the battle.
Proponents of affirmative action won a significant victory when
they changed the discussion from one of quotas to one of diversity.
Similarly, those who sought to achieve some retrenchment in tort
law gained a substantial advantage when they commandeered the
term tort reform to describe their undertaking and then
persuaded most American state legislatures to enact provisions
favorable to their position. Needless to say, those who oppose
their agenda do not agree that most of what has occurred is
reform in a positive sense. Hence, the title of this symposium-
Genuine Tort Reform. What, however, counts as genuine?
Genuine itself conveys the implicit message that what has
previously gone under the banner of tort reform is not genuine. If
so, what is it? Fake? Counterfeit? No, I prefer a simpler idea. I
would like to talk about good tort reform, or at least better tort
reform, the opposite of which is simply bad or worse tort reform.
In this paper, I sketch out what I believe good reform would
look like and then discuss one frequently suggested reform that I
believe meets this definition-limitations on general damages
variability.1 In Part II, I review tort reform over the last two
A.A. White Professor of Law, University of Houston Law Center.
1. There are three basic categories of damages: nominal, compensatory,
and punitive. Within the compensatory category, damages are generally
divided into two groups, special and general. Special damages is a term
meant to convey all damages on which we can, at least in theory, put a price.
Special damages, or specials, are also called economic damages. They

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