ATRA supports the SAFE TO WORK Act as part of the Senate’s HEALS Act legislative package for coronavirus relief.
ATRA: ‘Follow the Trial Lawyers’’ Influence in Opioid Litigation
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 19, 2017 – Acknowledging the “growing scope, seriousness and complexity of our nation’s problems with the abuse of federally approved pain medication,” the American Tort Reform Association […]
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 19, 2017 – Acknowledging the “growing scope, seriousness and complexity of our nation’s problems with the abuse of federally approved pain medication,” the American Tort Reform Association today nonetheless urged the media and others to “follow the trial lawyers’ influence in developing litigation that, though ostensibly led by state attorneys general, has a clear link to private-sector personal injury lawyers.”
ATRA president Tiger Joyce conceded that, “The hiring of outside counsel by state attorneys general may be appropriate in some instances. But there have been many well-documented abuses of these arrangements,” including those reported for more than a decade by the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board and a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times series that showed how private-sector personal injury lawyers often shop their ideas for potentially lucrative lawsuits against corporate defendants to friendly state AGs they have supported politically.
“So it is most important that litigation initiated by state or local governments truly serves the public interest, and does not ultimately serve the self-interest of the plaintiffs’ bar,” Joyce continued. “Drawing a bright line between these obviously conflicting interests has been an ATRA policy priority for more than a decade, animating our drive to enact commonsense statutes – in 18 states thus far – that promote accountability and transparency when public authorities feel compelled to hire outside counsel to run major lawsuits.
“In fact, ATRA was part of the successful 2015 effort to enact such a statute in Ohio,” where Attorney General Mike DeWine has reportedly hired outside counsel as ‘consultants.’
“While AG DeWine appears to be complying with that 2015 law,” Joyce observed, “ATRA will closely monitor compliance, and we urge media watchdogs to do the same. The role of these lawyers will continue to be a focus for ATRA as recent accounts in the media suggest that this litigation can be expected to target additional defendants.
“After all, public health and safety must be the ultimate goals. Elected legislators and executives, and the expert regulators they appoint, must not leave such important policymaking to trial lawyers, especially when there are such obvious conflicts between public and private interests.
“We must avoid ‘regulation through litigation,’ which has long been recognized as a corrosive end-run around the separation of powers,” Joyce concluded.
The American Tort Reform Association, based in Washington, D.C., is the only national organization dedicated exclusively to tort and liability reform through public education and the enactment of legislation. Its members include nonprofit organizations and small and large companies, as well as trade, business and professional associations from the state and national level. The American Tort Reform Foundation is a sister organization dedicated primarily to research and public education.
ATRA President Tiger Joyce writes about the American Law Institute’s diversion from its original mission in this opinion editorial for Law360.
ATRA President says COVID-19 statutes reflect a broader perspective than lawsuit shields as they are enacted by lawmakers, not just a single governor.
Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed into law reforms to the state’s punitive damages system, writes John Breslin for the St. Louis Record.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed S.B. 591 to amend Missouri’s consumer protection act and the state’s punitive damages system.
Federal Judge William Shubb ruled that due to insufficient evidence, California cannot require glyphosate-based weedkiller Roundup to be labeled as “known to the state of California to cause cancer.”
ATRA cited in an opinion editorial by John DeMaggio for The Hill regarding potential lawsuit abuse in the wake of COVID-19.
ATRA thanks Gov. Kim Reynolds for signing and the Iowa legislature for passing S.F. 2338, providing COVID-19 liability protections and reforming phantom damages in Iowa.
ATRA urges the Pennsylvania legislature to enact liability protections for critical industries like healthcare providers, PPE manufacturers and small businesses.
ATRA encourages the Louisiana State Senate to pass and Gov. John Bel Edwards to sign H.B. 57 to help reduce auto insurance rates.