ATRA supports the SAFE TO WORK Act as part of the Senate’s HEALS Act legislative package for coronavirus relief.
ATRA Critical of Giant ‘Junk Science’ Verdict in ‘Golden State for Trial Lawyers’
WASHINGTON, D.C., August 22, 2017 – Citing California’s stubborn and long criticized reluctance to adopt unambiguously the more exacting Daubert standard for expert evidence used in all federal courts and […]
WASHINGTON, D.C., August 22, 2017 – Citing California’s stubborn and long criticized reluctance to adopt unambiguously the more exacting Daubert standard for expert evidence used in all federal courts and roughly 80% of state court systems, the American Tort Reform Association today pointed to “the latest giant-sized junk-science verdict” there to suggest it officially change its nickname to the “Golden State for Trial Lawyers.”
“While a 2012 California Supreme Court decision appeared to embrace the judge-as-gatekeeper aspect of Daubert, the trial judge in this latest case seemed to revert to the antiquated Frye standard and allowed plaintiffs’ lawyers to present scientifically unsound and misleading evidence that would otherwise be rejected in the overwhelming majority of courts elsewhere across the country,” began ATRA president Tiger Joyce.
“Even in generally plaintiff-friendly New Jersey,” Joyce noted, “a state judge last year dismissed two cases similar to the California case, in which plaintiffs’ lawyers alleged that longtime talcum powder use had somehow caused their clients’ ovarian cancer. Furthermore, the scientific, medical and regulatory communities are united in saying that no such causal relationship exists.”
In part, the New Jersey judge wrote: “Though both Plaintiffs’ experts are eminently qualified, their areas of scientific inquiry, reasoning and methodology are slanted away from objective science and towards advocacy.”
“By contrast,” Joyce observed, “California’s judges and policymakers seem willfully oblivious to trial lawyers’ storied history of finding so-called ‘experts’ who, for the right price, will testify to just about anything. The Washington Post, for example, has a story today about the resurgence of childhood measles attributed to a ‘debunked theory,’ paid for by trial lawyers, that sought to link vaccines to autism.
“Beyond the insult of junk science, the California verdict heaps a massively disproportionate injury of more than $400 million in damages on talc defendants. The overwhelming majority of those damages were assessed as punitive damages, meaning that defendants are to be punished for selling a product that real science indicates is not harmful to consumers. And some folks wonder why California always features prominently in ATRA’s annual and exhaustively documented Judicial Hellholes report.”
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.