Since the formation of the committee in support of Proposition 46, donations have come almost exclusively from lawyers who stand to profit from its passage. This is not surprising, considering the trial lawyers spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to qualify Proposition 46 for the ballot.
The committee has raised just over $4 million, with more than 97 percent has come from attorneys and law firms. Major donors include the Consumer Attorneys Issues PAC ($1.1 million) and the law firms of Robinson Calcagnie Robinson Shapiro Davis ($250,000), Panish, Shea & Boyle LLP ($125,000) and Casey, Gerry, Schenk, Francavilla, Blatt & Penfield. ($115,000).
If you’re not familiar with those firm names, they all specialize, at least in part, in personal injury law. That’s not exactly what I’d call a broad base of support. But it all makes sense, once you look at what Prop. 46 will do. Under Prop.46, the ceiling for pain and suffering awards in medical negligence suits, set at $250,000 by the State Legislature in 1975, would be raised to $1.1 million.
Prop. 46 is being touted as an initiative that will improve the quality of doctors, by weeding out those who may be abusing drugs. But this is just a mask for the meat of the initative: raising the medical malpractice cap. The increase in the cap from $250,000 to $1.1 million will open the door for trial lawyers to sue the healthcare system and receive major payouts in return. Trial lawyers are showing that they are willing to pay in order to receive a bigger paycheck in the future.
On the other hand, it is impressive to see the broad base of support behind the No on 46 campaign. For example, the No on 46 campaign is supported by the California Teachers Association, the American Civil Liberties Union of California, SEIU of California, the California NAACP and the California School Boards Association. These are just a few of the more than 1,000 entities across the state of California opposed to Prop. 46.
When you follow the money, the only thing that can become clear is that Prop. 46 is a big pay day for the trial lawyers. The only ones paying for it are the taxpayers, consumers and small businesses.