From a Bloomberg article:

Business’s Agenda

After the 2002 congressional elections, when Republicans bolstered their control of Congress and President George W. Bush vowed to fix what he called “out-of-control” litigation, corporate lobbyists drew up an agenda seeking to eliminate asbestos lawsuits, cap medical-malpractice payouts and curb class-action cases.

The plan, which might have resulted in savings of tens of billions of dollars in damages, court costs and legal fees, mostly failed, and the more lawyer-friendly Democrats returned to power in last year’s elections.

"The plan, which might have resulted in savings of tens of billions of dollars in damages …"

The only way to "save" damages is not to cause them in the first place. A verdict or settlement doesn’t create or destroy any net wealth in society; it moves wealth from one party to another party based upon the court or jury’s finding of the harm caused by the first party. The destruction of wealth occurred at the underlying wrongful incident.

What the author meant to write was, "The plan, which would have prevented individuals from receiving compensation for the billions of dollars of damages they suffered because of corporate and professional malfeasance …"

Must have been a typo.

The other part, "court costs and legal fees," has an easy solution: defendants should offer to settle cases for their fair and just value. Fact is, even in the most obvious and egregious cases, most defendants — particularly where an insurance company is underwriting everything — don’t even consider a fair settlement, much less offer one, until after spending tens of thousands (frequently hundreds of thousands, sometime millions) in defense attorney’s fees.

I can’t even count the number of cases I’ve seen where the defense attorney’s fees clearly exceeded the plaintiff’s demand.