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Sick of Lawsuits Update
July 2007

"I am deeply concerned about the growing tendency of people going to court and suing over the seemingly most insignificant things... Those who misuse our legal system for their own financial gain undermine the proper administration of justice and saddle society with a higher cost of living."

California state Senator Tom Harman, Daily Pilot, July 1, 2007

In the News

Lawsuit Reform Battle Heats Up Again at State Capitol

"Two years after a high-profile battle over medical malpractice costs, state lawmakers again are debating the complex and politically charged issue of how lawsuits are handled in Illinois. The players are the same, but this time trial lawyers are the ones pushing two proposals to let plaintiffs collect more money, rather than critics pushing to limit awards. One of the measures, signed into law last month, allows plaintiffs in wrongful death cases to seek damages for grief, sorrow and mental suffering. Previously in such cases, Illinois law allowed families to collect only for economic damages and some other specific categories, but not for grief." Associated Press, June 24, 2007. READ MORE »

Lawyers Preparing for Explosion of Climate-Related Work

"Think this global-warming controversy will blow over soon? The lawyers don't. Top Dallas firm Thompson & Knight started a dedicated climate-change practice June 4 with 26 lawyers. Monday, Dallas' Vinson & Elkins will unveil its 41-lawyer group, headed by a former senior counsel for the World Bank. The law firms – and a dozen others nationwide – are getting ready for a predicted explosion of climate-related work tied to government regulation, lawsuits against energy companies and new markets that will trade the rights to emit carbon." Dallas Morning News, June 25, 2007. READ MORE »

Money for Nothing: Judges and Lawyers Abuse Our Legal System

"Hardly a day goes by that we don't read about another outrageous example of abuse by class-action lawyers. We all know the story: Lawyers collect millions in fees while the purportedly injured parties get next to nothing. In one case after another, plaintiffs' lawyers plunder businesses and jeopardize employees' jobs and pensions with costly and ridiculous class-action lawsuits. If you're wondering just how ridiculous things have gotten, former Viet Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers are now part of a class-action against American chemical companies for exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. Oral arguments were held earlier this week in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York." Washington Examiner, June 21, 2007. READ MORE »

Recent Sick of Lawsuits Activities

Todd Lamb, executive director of Maryland Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, co-authored an op-ed with Mike Kostinsky, the Maryland Leadership Council Chairman of the National Federation of Independent Business; the op-ed highlighted the costs of lawsuit abuse on the public and small businesses. Their op-ed states that a recent Harris Interactive survey found that 62 percent of small business owners and managers make decisions, such as raising prices or limiting some products, in order to avoid lawsuits. The Baltimore Examiner, June 12, 2007. READ MORE »

Legislative Update

Congressman Phil Gingrey (R-GA) has introduced the HEALTH Act of 2007 in Congress. The proposed legislation, if passed, would limit noneconomic damages to $250,000 and limit punitive damages to twice the economic damages, as well as limit attorney fees.

On June 15, Texas Governor Rick Perry vetoed HB 3281, which would have allowed personal injury lawyers to sue insurers for reimbursement of health care expenses that were waived or reduced but never incurred. Texas CALAs had called on the governor to veto this misguided legislation.

3,000: Number of Pennsylvania doctors who have left the state, curbed their services or retired early over the last four years due, in part, to the state's legal environment. Philadelphia Inquirer, June 6, 2007.

$7 million: Amount of money to be divided among plaintiffs' attorneys in a recent class-action lawsuit over contaminated gas from a Louisiana refinery, almost two times what plaintiffs were awarded. The plaintiffs in the case will receive a maximum of $450 each, totaling $3.7 million. Times-Picayune, June 8, 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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