Monday, April 1, 2013

Legislating to let Corporations Kill at Will

American legislators – state and federal – legislating away consumer rights – in favor of the corporations – becausetheycan.

Snips from Jim Hightower's article – as published on Common Dreams (my emphasis)

Published on Wednesday, March 27, 2013 by
by Jim Hightower         

Being wronged by a corporation is painful enough, but just try getting your day in court. Most Americans don't realize it, but our Seventh Amendment right to a fair jury trial against corporate wrongdoers has quietly been stripped from us. Let's look at this mess.

— Unlike courts, arbitration is not a public system, but a private business.

— Far from being neutral, "the third-party" arbitration firms are — get this! — usually hand-picked by the corporation involved in the case, chosen specifically because they have proven records of favoring the corporation.

— The corporation also gets to choose the city or town where the case is heard, allowing it to make the case inconvenient, expensive and unfair to individuals bringing a complaint.

Arbitrators are not required to know the law relevant to the cases they judge or follow legal precedents.

— Normal procedural rules for gathering and sharing evidence and safeguarding fairness to both parties do not apply in arbitration cases.

— Arbitration proceedings are closed to the media and the public.

Arbitrators need not reveal the reasons for their decisions, so they are not legally accountable for errors, and the decisions set no legal precedents for guiding future corporate conduct.

— Even if an arbitrator's decision is legally incorrect, it still is enforceable, carrying the full weight of the law.

— There is virtually no right to appeal an arbitrator's ruling.

That adds up to a kangaroo court!

People who wear suits – or even cowboy boots with suits have to be cautious about what they write.

So let’s get the story straight here.
Our corporate controlled legislatures at the state and federal levels are enacting laws under the guise of "tort reform" that will allow corporations to kill at will.  No consequences.

Think of a corporation - any corporation - and how their goods or services could maim, kill or financially destroy a person.  Think about.
Think about it happening to YOU  - you are maimed, you die, your lose everything - due to corporate neglect
and YOU have NO legal recourse.  NONE.

Corporations are people, my friend.
Yes, psychopathic, homicidal people – who, until now, were controlled because of our court systems.
Yes, psychopathic, homicidal people – who have no remorse for the damage caused of their products or services.
Yes, psychopathic, homicidal people – who won't correct a defective product or service - that maims or kills people - unless they are told to by the courts or federal agency.
Corporations are people, my friend.
Psychopathic, homicidal people - who are only concerned with more and more and more and more corporate profit.

Now, legislators are destroying legal recourse protections for the consumers through legislation – allowing corporations to rake in the bigger profits and payouts for their executive and stockholders – while killing and maiming the general public – with little to no legal recourse being brought against the corporations.

Our consumer rights – legislated away from us – in favor of the corporations.
Legislating away your fourth amendment rights and replacing it with corporate controlled mediation processes.

And historically, ALEC “model legislation” is behind this push to remove consumer protections.
Alternative Dispute Resolution Act
Bill Purpose:
This act promotes voluntary nonbinding arbitration or mediation as an alternative to formal court proceedings. This bill would provide parties to a lawsuit with choices for resolving their disputes that save time and money compared to formal court proceedings.

1995 reintroduced in 2012
Child Visitation Dispute Mediation Act
While divorce cannot be avoided, the emotional, psychological, and social needs of children must receive greater attention. Legislation must ensure that custody decisions truly reflect the best interests of children. The following legislation encourages the promotion of mediation as an alternate to litigation to resolve visitation.

ALEC’s Comprehensive Medical Liability Reform
Extracts key sections of the Act into a stand-alone model bill; adds model language on appeal from an interlocutory order; amends model language on prelitigation medical review screening and mediation panels; adds model language on standards of proof in cases involving emergency care; and makes technical amendments.

“Resolution in Support of Victim Offender Mediation”
Mr. Marc Levin, Texas Public Policy Foundation

Employer Good Faith and Safe Harbor Act
Section 1. As used in the employer good faith and safe harbor act:
A) “Employee” means any person who is employed by an employer in consideration for direct or indirect monetary wages or profit;
B) “Employer” means any person, partnership, corporation, association, organization or other business entity which employs four or more individual persons;
C) “Mediation” under this act is the process by which a neutral mediator appointed by the court, or by a hearing officer, assists the parties in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement as to issues of employment.

2011 Tort Reform Boot Camp
If you haven’t read this you MUST  - 60 pages on how to destroy consumer protection with ALEC "model legislation"
(my emphasis on these snips from the report)
ALEC developed the Class Actions Improvements Act to reign in the abuse of the class action mechanism and to encourage class actions to serve their proper function. 

Prior to a class action being considered in court, the judge must first agree to certify a class action.
A judge decides if the case will be heard
Rather than allow classes of cases with mere similarities to move forward as class actions, the ALEC model would ensure that certified cases can be decided en masse
Multiple cases with exact issues need to be identified in order for the case to be heard
The ALEC model also limits class participants to residents of the state
Multiple plaintiffs from multiple states can not join together to have a case heard
Under the bill, classes would not be certifiable until enough individual claims have come forward to justify a class lawsuit.
A single state – many plaintiffs with almost exact same issue – with a judge (who could be an ALEC alum) deciding whether the case can go forward
Oh – goodie!!!!
The last major provision of the ALEC model would encourage courts to consider whether administrative remedies are already in place to render justice for potential class members before certifying a possibly unnecessary class action.
Mediation, of course.

And the goal
            One simple reform that may be particularly helpful in keeping 
           unwarranted class actions from moving forward 

And for those that are thinking your State Attorney General could protect consumers – aka you – from corporate bone picking vultures.
Think again!

ALEC  Attorney General Authority Act.

For a little info on the Act – a snip from MinnPost:
ALEC’s next target: state AGs who go after companies

ALEC Attorney General Authority Act.

“Just as a private attorney cannot bring a suit on behalf of a client without the client agreeing and authorizing such action, and then only within the guidelines allowed by the client, so it should be with the attorney general. Rather than an attorney general deciding on his or her own what authority the office may have to bring a lawsuit, the authority should be defined by the state as reflected by the specific decisions of the legislature via statute. The legislature, not the attorney general, is best positioned to balance the competing concerns that go into the decision of whether to allow a cause of action and under what circumstances.”

Now in English
In even plainer English: AGs, who are typically the consumer’s lone public advocate these days, may not file suit against, say, a tobacco company, a mortgage fraudster or a national company flaunting state law, unless the legislature passes a bill saying he -- or in our case, she -- can.

So think about it:
    may not file suit against   
    unless the legislature passes a bill saying he -- or in our case, she – can.
An ALEC controlled legislature, of course
– ALEC legislators
– bought and paid for by ALEC corporate profit sector members.

And then the next question would be
– which current state legislator wrote that legislation?
    The Attorney General Authority Act
    Charlie Ross, Wise Carter Child and Caraway, PA

I think as citizens we should do everything in our power to rewrite this statement made by ALEC
Inside ALEC | June 2009
Federal agencies, Congress and the courts should not let personal injury lawyers pre-empt the health and safety of the  American public.

And the re-write should be
Federal agencies, Congress and the courts should not let ALEC Corporate Profit Sector members pre-empt the health and safety of the public through American Legislative Exchange Council “model legislation”.

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