"Some have said that when it comes to asbestos, we don't need tort reform alone, we need scandal reform. The plaintiffs, without objective evidence of impairment are bankrupting companies, leaving those with true injuries from asbestos to recover pennies on the dollar in bankruptcy court. Also, it is widely acknowledged that radiologists hired by plaintiffs' lawyers vastly overstate evidence of exposure and injury."
- Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), Sick of Lawsuits Web chat, October 27, 2005
Stricter Rules Needed for Lawyer Advertising
"[T]he fact that most lawyers strictly behave themselves and act ethically is not because of the stringency of an ethics code. In fact, the rules on lawyers are rather lax, particularly when it comes to television advertising. True, the state Bar reviews all TV ads by lawyers, but only for the accuracy of the ads. That is not good enough, judging by some of the obnoxious ads that the Bar allows. The blaring of a siren and the flashing of emergency lights are little more than electronic ambulance chasing. Such trolling for cases should stop. Advertisements for services should not include dollar signs that imply huge gains, as if a traffic collision is some sort of lottery ticket." Editorial, Charleston Daily Mail, October 21, 2005
Vioxx Suits Pushed to State Courts
"Mark Lanier and other marquee plaintiff lawyers in the massive litigation over withdrawn painkiller Vioxx are banding together a legal "dream team" that will push all future lawsuits into state courts, which are considered less friendly to defendant Merck & Co …. The effort is also aimed at forcing Merck to start settling cases instead of fighting each in court. 'We've got the best courtroom lawyers, we've got the best mass tort lawyers ... and we've got the best negotiators that America has to offer working together on a dream team that is Merck's biggest nightmare,' he said. 'We call it kind of the 'Legal Godfathers.' Lanier said the lawyers' group that he and New York attorney Terry Weitz organized already has about 20,000 potential lawsuits in its inventory, and only about 10 percent of those have been filed in courts so far." Associated Press, October 24, 2005
Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse groups around the country were busy earlier this month organizing activities for Lawsuit Abuse Awareness Week (LAAW), October 3-7. More than 30 local municipalities, along with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Texas Governor Rick Perry, issued proclamations recognizing LAAW, and U.S. Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX) recognized the week in the Congressional Record.
U.S. Senator John Cornyn of Texas spoke with Sick of Lawsuits supporters this month as part of the On Call Web chat series. Senator Cornyn discussed the lawsuit abuse debate on Capitol Hill and some recent proposals to reform the civil justice system. He also encouraged supporters to take action in the fight against frivolous lawsuits, saying "one of the most important things you can do to stop lawsuit abuse is get involved through writing to your state and local representatives, joining local and national advocacy groups, and learning more about the issues&."
The U.S. House of Representatives approved two important bills this month that aim to curb frivolous lawsuits. The Personal Responsibility and Food Consumption Act, or "cheeseburger" bill, which bans lawsuits against the fast-food industry for claims that the food made them fat, passed the House by a vote of 306-120. The House also approved the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2005 (LARA) by a vote of 228-184. LARA helps deter the filing of frivolous lawsuits by placing common sense limits on where claims can be filed and eliminating a "safe harbor" provision that allows lawyers to withdraw frivolous lawsuits within 21 days. The bill also limits the favored personal injury lawyer practice of "forum shopping," whereby lawyers file their lawsuits in the most plaintiff-friendly jurisdictions.
82: Percentage of Americans who believe that personal injury lawyers who file lawsuits over medicines and other healthcare remedies are more interested in making money than in helping their clients. Sick of Lawsuits National Survey, Conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, August 16-18, 2005
47: Percentage of Americans who believe that personal injury lawyers are responsible for filing frivolous lawsuits - the group cited most as being to blame for such claims. Sick of Lawsuits National Survey, Conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, August 16-18, 2005
6,000: Estimated number of Vioxx-related personal injury lawsuits drug maker Merck now faces across the country, a number that has spiked dramatically following the $253 million verdict from the first Vioxx trial in Texas. Associated Press, October 13, 2005
Stop dangerous and irresponsible personal injury lawyer advertising!
Sick of Lawsuits needs your help. Send a letter TODAY urging the Federal Trade Commission to pursue stricter guidelines on personal injury lawyer advertising that uses misleading, inflammatory and baseless claims to scare consumers. Tell them you're not going to stand for personal injury lawyers' scare tactics.
www.SickofLawsuits.org is a nonpartisan, grassroots compaign to educate the public about the negative impact of lawsuit abuse and to stop lawsuit abuse from destroying our health care system.