Sunday, November 18, 2012

Protecting Civil Justice - Fighting ALEC

A new group was recently launched to protect consumer rights.
Why - because of five major organizations that are trying to take YOUR rights away - including ALEC.

If you are a lawyer or know a lawyer who is dedicated to serving the public they should know about this.
If you are a citizen that has had your rights trampled on - they want to hear from you.

This group may have been overlooked if it hadn’t been for the announcement by a Chicago law firm.
The announcement was made
On Tuesday the American Association for Justice (AAJ) launched Take Justice Back, a campaign to teach Americans why they should care about protecting the civil justice system.


Take Justice Back aims to protect consumers from corporations who have lobbied to avoid liability by using phrases like “tort reform” and “frivolous lawsuits.” Tort reform refers to proposed changes in the common law civil justice systems that aim to reduce tort litigation or damages. Frivolous lawsuits refer to corporate allegations that consumers are making up injuries to try and win large sums of money. There are several corporate front groups behind these efforts. These groups include the Institute for Legal Reform, the American Legislative Exchange Council, the American Tort Reform Association, the Civil Justice Reform Group, and the Searle Civil Justice Institute..

A webpage has been established to educate everyone on the dangers of tort reform that is being pushed by special interests.

The webpage:

They have identified the organizations dedicated to destroying your rights to redress and due process at this webpage.
To learn more about these groups, and the ways that they use paperwork, money, and political power to prevent innocent consumers from fighting back against negligent corporations please click here

And they want to hear your stories!!

And yes – they know about ALEC
ALEC and ALEC legislators are one of the five groups dedicated to taking your rights away from you – for the ALEC corporate profit sector members.
For example, ALEC has worked on behalf of:

    Oil companies to undermine climate change proponents;
    Pharmaceutical manufacturers, arguing that states should be banned from importing prescription drugs;
    Telecom firms to block local authorities from offering cheap or free municipally-owned broadband;
    Insurance companies to prevent state insurance commissioners from requiring insurers to meet strengthened accounting and auditing rules;
    Big banks, recommending that seniors be forced to give up their homes via reverse mortgages in order to receive Medicaid;
    The asbestos industry, trying to shut the courthouse door to Americans suffering from mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases; and,
    Enron to deregulate the utility industries, which eventually caused the U.S. to lose what the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) estimated as $5 trillion in market value.


The result has been a consistent pipeline of special interest legislation being funneled into state capitols. Thanks to ALEC, 826 bills were introduced in the states in 2009 and 115 were enacted into law.

Another example that every day, more Americans are waking up and fighting back against the destruction being caused by the American Legislative Exchange Council – destruction of our government and our rights.

Little do these lawyers know that ALEC despises them, really probably hates them – on behalf of their corporate profit sector members - and has for decades has indoctrinated ALEC legislative members to despise them also with on-going insidious ALEC written propaganda.  ALEC despises lawyers even more than they despise American citizens who think they have the right to due process and redress - through the use of lawyers.

A few examples – just a few – which don’t paint lawyers in a very good light – and this stuff goes out to every ALEC member to help them shape their opinions.
In 1992 – HW Bush addressing an ALEC meeting said this:
People still turn small squabbles into lawsuits, and they sit in courtrooms listening to lawyers bicker about problems that should have been solved some way, over a cup of coffee at home maybe.
In 1993 ALEC wrote in a healthcare report distributed to all ALEC members
Our judicial system encourages lawsuits. It influences plaintiffs and their lawyers to view the tort system as a "lottery" within which huge windfalls are possible. Without legislation designed to overhaul the system, the number of lawsuits will continue to grow.
And they don’t mean just any legislation, they mean ALEC “model legislation”, of course.  ALEC pro-corporate legislation.

The ‘‘In 1995, the comments of
Virginia Governor George Allen, a former ALEC member, has noted "that this ill conceived policy only serves the interests of trial lawyers and the federal government.    . I am even more concerned that these actions are exactly the opposite of where the states should be heading in terms of tort reform and will only serve to erode further the principle of personal responsibility."
Again in 1995 you find this statement in a report issued to all ALEC members
It is reasonable to expect that other industries will be targeted by the law whenever the state government -- encouraged by private lawyers in pursuit of a hefty contingency fee -- believes it is cost effective to do so .
In 2002 ALEC told their members in their bi-monthly publication that they should be
Empowering patients and neutering trial lawyers are the paths to that end.
Also in 2002 ALEC told their members in their bi-monthly publication
The modern era of “regulation through litigation” began with tobacco. An unusual alliance of state attorneys general and wealthy personal injury lawyers facilitated this initiative.
Also in 2002 ALEC told their members in their bi-monthly publication
If public opinion shifts, whether through the force of personal injury lawyers and their allies or through industry missteps, potentially substantial liability could move into areas that are now considered ordinary

Also in 2002 ALEC told their members in a report distributed to all their members

They will reform the tort system to minimize arbitrary and substantial threats to property rights from unscrupulous lawyers and runaway juries. Worker compensation should be completely privatized. The list is almost endless.
In 2004 in a document encouraging ALEC legislators to get rid of Medicaid for the elderly and suggesting that the elderly should take out reverse mortgages to fund their old age care:
Of course, interest groups like senior advocates—who mistakenly believe the elderly benefit from the status quo—and Medicaid planners and trial lawyers—for whom the status quo is a financial bonanza—fight any effort to target Medicaid long-term care benefits to the needy or to encourage private financing.
In 2005 ALEC states in one of their reports
However, the problem of frivolous lawsuits brought by trial lawyers remains.
In May 2007 in an article in Inside ALEC this is noted
Another effort to change animal law is legislation to permit non-economic damages in animal litigation. This type of legislation capitalizes on the feelings people have for their pets in an attempt to legally declassify pets as “property.” Such legislation would wrongfully confer to pets, livestock, and other animals similar legal rights as human beings. This change would increase the size of potential judgment awards in animal litigation and would thereby make the suits more profitable and attractive to many trial lawyers.
According to ALEC, if the vet or your dog/cat food or a sadist kills Fluffy/Fido – too bad – suck it up – they are just an animal after all.

Another article in July 2007 Inside ALEC
However, at the time they were adopted, the lawmakers of that era did not anticipate the litigiousness of modern society and often employed broad language conducive to manipulation by clever trial lawyers.
In 2007, in an ALEC State Factor distributed to all ALEC members - in regards to the mesolethemia issue and Crown Cork (which has had multiple pieces of favorable state legislation passed in their favor, even though Crown Cork KNEW what they were getting into when they bought Mundet)
Crown has been sued in asbestos-related cases solely as a successor to Mundet Cork.     “The trial lawyers have made Crown Cork & Seal pay dearly for the ninety days it owned the insulation division of Mundet. . . . They should never have had to pay a dime to begin with.”
Oh poor Crown Seal – nasty, nasty lawyers.

In a 2008 California editorial by Amy Kjose
All it takes is a creative lawyer, a friendly judge and a little luck to abuse our legal system and bleed America's wallet dry with frivolous lawsuits.

But don't lawyers study the law in order to strictly abide by it? It is difficult to see why some lawyers would be so opposed to legislation that clarifies the law they study and is in the best interest of their clients and of this nation ... unless they have a vested interest in a flimsy, abuse-ridden legal system. Who knows?
Let’s see Kjose’s background includes: interning at ALEC and then working for ALEC.

In the 2009 edition of Rich States Poor States distributed to all ALEC members.
When the legal system becomes a system of jackpot justice, with huge awards not related to the negligence or misbehavior of the company being sued, the biggest winners are trial lawyers.
Huge award “not related to negligence”?  Come on – give the trial jury system some love here ALEC.  You don’t think us dumb citizens can make correct decisions?

AND here’s my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE – a recap of what ALEC’s true intention probably is:
As noted in the Progressive States Network report “Governing the Nation from the Statehouses:”
Using State Law to Defund the Left: Conservatives increasingly use control of government to cut off the sources of funding for progressive politics. Shutting down the tort system cuts off funds to trial lawyers, so-called "paycheck protection" laws undermine union political action, and privatization shifts money from public employee activists to conservative corporate actors.

The American Association forJustice's Take Justice Back site provides information about specific instances of injustice, a range of statistics, and rebuttals to commonly held assumptions about personal injury litigation in America, including these facts:
- According to the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), tort cases (personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits) declined by a quarter over the past decade, and currently make up only about five percent of civil court caseloads
- Statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice show that the median award in a tort case is only $31,000, and awards have decreased in recent years
- Punitive damages are sought by only about five percent of all successful plaintiffs
- According to the NCSC and the National Practitioner Databank, medical malpractice payments have dropped significantly since 2001

Groups like the Institute for Legal Reform, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the American Tort Reform Association spend tens of millions of dollars every year lobbying for changes to the U.S. civil justice system that favor defendants. These groups provide model legislation to states or file lawsuits against government regulators in support of the vested interests of the companies that fund them.


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