So far during Lawsuit Abuse Awareness Week, we have discussed how Florida’s bad laws encourage lawsuit abuse and how trial lawyers take advantage of these laws to stir up lawsuits and line their own pockets at our expense. So, what do they do with all their lawsuit profits?
They invest it. And we’re not talking about the stock market. They invest in electing lawsuit-friendly politicians.
The trial bar is one of the largest political contributors nationally and in Florida. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the American Association for Justice spent more than $4 million in federal contributions alone.
Personal injury lawyers –made wealthy by wreaking lawsuit havoc on small businesses, doctors and employers — turn around and use those lawsuit winnings to influence political and judicial elections. They help bankroll candidates and elected officials who, once elected, take care of their trial lawyer campaign contributors. These officials return the favor by: passing more bad laws that expand lawsuits; blocking meaningful lawsuit reforms that could help stop abuse; and, in the case of judges, overturning reform and making plaintiff-friendly, activist rulings.
Unfortunately, we’ve seen all too much of this in Florida.
Just look back to the 2014 gubernatorial election, when the trial bar’s best friend, Charlie Crist, sought the governor’s mansion. Crist is uniquely indebted to trial lawyers, who have contributed more than $4 million to his state elections throughout the years. While Crist ultimately wasn’t successful in 2014, the trial bar’s influence didn’t die with his defeat, and they still have plenty of influence in the legislature.
During this session we witnessed the same old story. Presented with two reforms that would have made significant strides in bringing much-needed transparency and fairness back to Florida’s legal system, the trial bar used its influence over the legislature to prevent the bills from even getting out of committee. Sadly, just scratch the surface of many Judiciary Committees that routinely refuse to pass reform and stop abuse and you will find hefty trial lawyer campaign contributions and trial lawyer friends.
This channeling of lawsuit profit into lawsuit-creating politicians helps trial lawyers make money, keeps trial lawyer friends in office to make bad laws, and hurts all of us.
Tomorrow we will look at the steps that you can take to be part of the solution.