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Sick of Lawsuits Update
August 2007

"Expensive and excessive litigation leads to higher costs for consumers, less jobs for our citizens and slowdowns in economic growth...It discourages investment and has a negative effect on the expansion of the free market."

Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell, West Virginia Record, July 17, 2007.

In the News

Courts Gone Wild

"Any American who watches TV or reads a newspaper has probably heard about the Washington, D.C., dry cleaner who allegedly lost Roy Pearson's suit pants and was sued by Pearson--a D.C. judge--for $67 million, including $500,000 for "emotional damages." While bizarre, to be sure, stories like this are increasingly common. A rampaging squirrel, for example, allegedly attacked Marcy Meckler in the courtyard of a Chicago mall. Did Meckler call animal control? No. She sued the mall for $50,000. A woman claimed that David Letterman, popular host of The Late Show on CBS, was mentally harassing her with messages of love. According to the woman, when Letterman appeared on TV quipping "Marry me, Oprah" he was actually saying "Marry me, Colleen Nestler." A restraining order was issued. Against the woman? No--against Letterman. Such stories may be funny and illustrate how our legal system can be abused. But the real abuses in the legal system are more serious and more systematic--and they rarely get reported. Tort awards are supposed to depend on how much someone is injured and whether another person is at fault. Such awards are supposed to have nothing at all to do with politics. So why are tort awards much higher in states where judges are elected?" Forbes, July 24, 2007. READ MORE »

Abuse of power

"Last summer, attorney general candidate Jerry Brown met with the Union-Tribune editorial board and barely had to be prodded to take shots at the grandstanding ways of then-Attorney General (and fellow Democrat) Bill Lockyer. Brown said he would be a pragmatic, tough-minded attorney general...Now Brown's eagerness to share in the global praise that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has won for signing AB 32 - an anti-greenhouse gas emissions bill - has gone beyond slick political opportunism to what can fairly be described as a frightening abuse of power. Up and down the state, he has been using his staff's 1,100 lawyers to challenge everything from housing projects to county planning guides to upgrades of oil refineries to regional transportation plans - all on the grounds that they do not honor rules related to AB 32 that the state Air Resources Board has yet to write." San Diego Union-Tribune, August 10, 2007. READ MORE »

NY's Missing Doctors

"There's hardly a more efficient way to damage commerce and, eventually, government itself than to construct a legal system that encourages frivolous suits. Litigation Lotto works just like the real thing: The prospect of a huge cash payout tempts thousands to play, egged on by trial lawyers hoping to swallow up the winnings. New York doctors know the routine only too well, having long labored in what the Pacific Research Institute describes as the third-worst tort climate in America. The latest indicator that something's amiss came with last week's announcement from the state Insurance Department that premiums for medical-malpractice insurance are jumping 14 percent this year - the biggest hike since 1993." New York Post, July 8, 2007. READ MORE »

The Doctors Are In

"There has been an alarming trend of doctors fleeing states that are trial lawyer playgrounds. Texas is not one of them. Thanks to its sane limits on malpractice lawsuits, the state is a physician magnet. The migration of doctors into Texas has become such a flood that the state cannot process their license applications fast enough. It should be no surprise that the Texas Medical Board received 4,000 applications for medical licenses last year, a 33% increase over 2005. Or that applications jumped 88% from the first half of 2003 to the first half of 2006." Investors Business Daily, July 17, 2007. READ MORE »

Recent Sick of Lawsuits Activities

California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse released a new report on the effect of litigation costs on the budgets of some of California's largest cities and counties. In releasing the report, California CALA chairman John Merchant said: "Large corporations are not the only targets of personal injury lawyers' litigation. California's cities and counties pay millions of dollars each year in settlements, verdicts and outside counsel to defend against lawsuits. When a city or county is forced into litigation, taxpayers foot the bill. Californians want and deserve to have their tax dollars spent on much needed services, not to line the pockets of personal injury lawyers." READ THE REPORT »

Texas Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse groups released the results of a statewide survey of 400 Texas voters indicating a majority believe a high number of no-shows hurts the civil justice system by delaying trials and possibly leading to juries that aren't representative of local communities. The survey found that 54 percent of respondents support increasing the maximum fine and 51 percent support suspending the driver's license of those who repeatedly fail to show. READ MORE »

Florida Stop Lawsuit Abuse executive director, Slade O'Brien, authored an op-ed in the Tallahassee Democrat arguing that Michael Moore's recent movie "Sicko," ignores one of the healthcare system's main problems - lawsuit abuse. O'Brien writes, "The primary driver of the skyrocketing cost of health care is the persistent and continuing problem of abusive, out-of-control, personal injury and medical malpractice lawsuits. These often-frivolous lawsuits are not in the best interest of the consumer, do not identify and weed out "bad doctors" and do not even provide basic restitution for substandard care." READ MORE »

$23,000: Cost of liability insurance for a Texas dredging company per employee due to an explosion of dredging lawsuits in the state. Dallas Business Journal, July 20, 2007.

$209 Million: Cost over the last two years to Los Angeles County and city taxpayers for expenditures related to verdict awards, outside counsel costs and settlements. Los Angeles Daily News, July 26, 2007.

46%: Percentage of people nationally who show up for jury duty after being summoned. Associated Press, July 27, 2007.

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www.Sickoflawsuits.org is a nonpartisan, grassroots campaign to educate the public about the negative impact of lawsuit abuse, empower consumers to take action against these abuses, and challenge those who who profit from abusing our legal system.

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