Approved by the Engineering Practice Policy Committee on March 14, 2019
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on April 28, 2019
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 13, 2019
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports comprehensive tort reform that discourages or eliminates frivolous lawsuits against licensed and/or accredited engineering professionals.
Tort Reform includes but is not limited to:
- Limits on non-economic damages;
- Limits on joint and several liability;
- Limits on attorneys' contingency fees;
- Limits on application of the collateral source rule;
- Periodic payments for large awards;
- Use of alternative dispute resolution techniques;
- Reasonable access to insurance industry data;
- Reasonable statutes of limitations or repose
- Use of Certificate of Merit procedures by appropriately qualified experts to discourage frivolous suits; and
- Provide immunity to engineering professionals on construction projects under worker compensation statutes.
Litigation in the United States is often costly and time consuming, and lawsuits are sometimes frivolous. Findings of liability sometimes seem to be out of proportion with the degree of fault in a case, and large damage awards for unquantifiable claims have been granted. Even the costs to obtain a summary judgment are significant. The growth in litigation against businesses and professionals, coupled with excessive and unreasonable jury awards, has led to dramatic increases in insurance premiums, reduced policy coverage, and even outright cancellations of professional liability insurance coverage. A growing number of professional engineers, including those with little or no history of claims, have found that professional liability insurance is a substantial cost of doing business.
ASCE is concerned about the adverse economic impact of litigation, and the escalating cost of liability insurance on the civil engineering profession. These adverse economic impacts affect the availability and affordability of professional liability insurance needed for the orderly and responsible conduct of business, including engineering services.
ASCE Policy Statement 318
First Approved in 1986