Declare war on lawsuit abuse

There Oughta Be a Law book coverFeb. 12, 2013

By Joseph Perkins

Inmate lawsuits have become a cottage industry here in California. The Associated Press reports that such litigation has cost the state’s taxpayers more than $200 million over the past 15 years.

Gov. Jerry Brown suggests that much of that litigation is frivolous, ginned up by trial lawyers motivated less by concern for the state’s prison inmates, and more about extracting lucrative legal fees from the state.

“They don’t want to go away,” the governor said last month. “I mean, the name of the game here is, ‘Come to Sacramento and get your little piece of the pie.’”

The lawsuit abuse of which Brown spoke is hardly unique to the state’s penal system. It is a plague California’s business community has complained about for years, with little sympathy from lawmakers in the state capital.

Brown recognizes now just how avaricious the state’s trial lawyers can be. That should fire him up to not only declare war on frivolous inmate lawsuits, but also other categories of litigation where abuses are rampant.

Small business victims

ADA lawsuits. Such litigation takes advantage of regulations, based on the federal Americans With Disabilities Act, that are intended to ensure ease of access to public places, including private businesses.

The regs have provided the means for buck-raking plaintiffs to shake down small businesses by accusing them of ADA violations. The businesses receive a demand letter from a plaintiff citing so many violations, each of which entails a $4,000 fine.

The business owners are advised that they can settle the lawsuit by paying the plaintiff $5,000 or so for his trouble and agreeing to bring their neighborhood dry cleaner or nail salon or bookstore into ADA compliance.

Proposition 65 lawsuits. Businesses that contain one of more than 900 chemicals regulated by Proposition 65 are required by state law to post a warning sign. Several law firms have created a profit center for themselves by suing small businesses that either are not aware that they have chemicals on their premises or that they are required to post a warning to that effect.

There were more than 300 Prop. 65 lawsuits in 2011, from which the state’s trial lawyers pocketed more than $12 million in payments from victimized small businesses.

CEQA lawsuits. The California Environmental Quality Act is used by litigants not to enrich themselves but to thwart the construction of new home communities, commercial developments and even public works projects.

Once filed primarily by environmental groups, which are reflexively anti-growth, CEQA lawsuits are now routinely filed by neighborhood groups, who’ve gotten their piece of the California Dream and don’t want to share with others; by unions, which aim to force developers to accede to high-wage Project Labor Agreements; and even by developers themselves, seeking to hamstring competing developers.

Class Action lawsuits. California is the “undisputed champion of the consumer class action,” according to the American Tort Reform Association.

Ours is the state where Proctor & Gamble settled a class action alleging that it is impossible to get the last 20 percent of the toothpaste out of Crest’s “Neat Squeeze” Tubes.  It is also where Taco Bell spent millions of dollars fighting off a frivolous class action claiming that it improperly advertised that its beef taco contained “seasoned ground beef” when it should have said “taco meat filling.”

There are legislative fixes for each of these categories of lawsuit abuse. All they require is the support of Brown and a Legislature that acknowledges the need for legal reform in the nation’s most litigious state.

18 comments

Write a comment
  1. surfpunk
    surfpunk 12 February, 2013, 10:54

    tort reform, YEA!,nothing will stop agenda 21.Be carefull what you ask for.

    Reply this comment
  2. kart
    kart 12 February, 2013, 11:30

    Criminals aren’t supposed to have rights! The alclu has demonized the criminal justice system to the hilt! I say 1 appeal and if denied serve sentence on all including death row inmates! This in a big part is Fienstien and Pelosi’s Fault. Give in to human rights activists and this is the kinda Government you get!

    Reply this comment
  3. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 12 February, 2013, 12:35

    “They don’t want to go away,” the governor said last month. “I mean, the name of the game here is, ‘Come to Sacramento and get your little piece of the pie.’”

    CLOWN Boi is a complete and total tool. NO ONE litigating against the prison is getting rich. It is a FEDERAL, not state, lawsuit that went to the unconstitutional living and medical conditions of CA prisons, due mainly yo over compensating their GED educated guards, leaving NO money for anything else.

    The federal court told Clown Boi to go fly a kite when he tried t get the federal receivership of the prison system ended.

    I am SOOO happy Clown Boy is pissed off.

    Reply this comment
  4. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 12 February, 2013, 12:35

    Criminals aren’t supposed to have rights! The alclu has demonized the criminal justice system to the hilt!
    ==
    You are a complete tool.

    Reply this comment
  5. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 12 February, 2013, 12:38

    The ADA lawsuits were notorious, as was the B&P code 17200.

    The Trevor Law group had all their (3) lawyers disbarred for abusing the code, and the code was amended.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trevor_Law_Group

    The ADA abusers have also been disbarred.

    Reply this comment
  6. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 12 February, 2013, 12:38

    ADA abuser Ted Pinnock was disbarred too;

    http://www.adaabuse.com/pinnockwakefield.html

    Reply this comment
  7. Ted Steele, The Decider
    Ted Steele, The Decider 12 February, 2013, 15:43

    Kart is actually correct! “Criminal” don’t have many rights! In our system of justice only “alleged” criminals have the big 5 rights (self incrim, speedy and public hearing, cross and confront wits, use of sub power of the court to compel wits to appear and the right to reasonable bail) Once a cit. is a convicted criminal a whole bunch of that goes away!

    Well done Kart!!!

    Reply this comment
  8. Ted Steele, The Decider
    Ted Steele, The Decider 12 February, 2013, 15:45

    And on another note—- On behalf of all of the patriots out here on CWD ya gotta love these brave policemen who are fighting and dying for us up at Big Bear today!!!

    God Bless them– worth every penny we pay them!!

    Reply this comment
  9. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 12 February, 2013, 17:07

    Teddy, you’re a tool too.

    Reply this comment
  10. Bill - San Jose
    Bill - San Jose 12 February, 2013, 17:22

    I have so much first hand knowledge of the lack of reality when it comes to fraudulent lawsuits that I need my own blog.

    Trust me when I say that mediators for workers comp have said point blank to me “why are even in business in this state with the fact that we are not PERMITTED to rule in your favor?”

    You cannot make that up folks.

    Reply this comment
  11. Ted Steele, The Decider
    Ted Steele, The Decider 12 February, 2013, 17:55

    Proof yet again—- I live in the poodles tiny pointed head—– he can’t resist a comment when he sees me!!!! LMAO!!!

    he loves the attention! Even neg attention– so——

    he remains…..
    wait for it…..

    0 for 14 ™!

    Reply this comment
  12. Ted Steele, The Decider
    Ted Steele, The Decider 12 February, 2013, 17:59

    My God—- What a great night!

    1. A dead crook!

    2. A GREAT speech by a GREAT president!!!

    Wouldn’t it be great if the repub’s could shed the teabaggers after this challenging speech? Ok lads— here we go!

    The Ted LOVES this stuff!!!

    Reply this comment
  13. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 12 February, 2013, 18:29

    Teddy, how can you be dead, you’re still posting?????

    Reply this comment
  14. Ted Steele, The Decider
    Ted Steele, The Decider 12 February, 2013, 19:09

    What a GREAT night! What a speech! This guy is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply this comment
  15. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 12 February, 2013, 19:32

    Teddy= Walking Dead, with a dead mind to match!

    Reply this comment
  16. Ted Steele, The Decider
    Ted Steele, The Decider 12 February, 2013, 21:10

    mmmmmmmmmm cozy up in poodles empty head! LOL

    Where do I send the check little fella?

    Reply this comment
  17. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 13 February, 2013, 09:39

    I owe you, for that knock out punch I gave ya, you’re still seeing birdies!

    Reply this comment
  18. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 14 February, 2013, 07:06

    Teddy bring back your sock pupppets, at least they have some entertainment value.

    Reply this comment

Write a Comment

Leave a Reply


Tags assigned to this article:
CEQAclass actionJoseph PerkinsProp. 65

Related Articles

The Paycheck Protection Budget

JUNE 17, 2011 The California Legislature just passed a budget. Less than 24 hours later, the governor vetoed it, leaving

Government takeover of the sheeple

April 20, 2012 By Katy Grimes The unwavering fundamental of being American is individual freedom. Man is constitutionally free in America.

Covered California video features gyrating Richard Simmons

Facing a $78 million budget shortfall, Covered California spent $1.37 million on an outreach campaign that included a video featuring