Difference between revisions of "Tort Reform, Corporate Liability and the Rights of Injured Americans"

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<big>'''The bills corporations and their politician allies VOTED on behind closed doors through ALEC try to change American's rights by:'''</big><br>
* [ '''Making it harder for injured people to use "class action" procedures'''] that can expose the widespread harms of dangerous products and strengthen the negotiating power of injured people
* '''Limiting corporate financial liability''' through changing the [ fault] rules
* '''Making it easier for corporations''' to get a judge to dismiss an injured American's case ''before'' it gets to a jury through:<br>
** [ Reviving the "Assumption of Risk" bar to suit]
** '''Changing the rules about ''where'' injured Americans can sue''' through changes to [ forum rules], including rules for people injured in [ multiple states]
** [ Altering summary judgment rules]
* [ Requiring medical malpractice lawsuits be filtered by doctors and others from the health care industry]
* '''Deterring lawsuits''' through:
**  [ making it harder to who bring suits for injured people based on limited information], even though the discovery procedures could reveal more information about liability if the case could proceed
* [ Punishing] injured Americans with paying corporate attorneys fees out of any jury verdict if the verdict was not significantly larger than an earlier offer of settlement
* [ Barring injured Americans from getting any damages from corporations whose products injure them if products are subject to government regulation] and  giving manufacturers a [ defense against liability if their product met governmental standards] (even though many regulatory agencies have been captured through the revolving door between government and the industries being regulated, many of the same industries pushing these bills)
* [ '''Making it more difficult''' to introduce new scientific research in injury cases] through expert witnesses (by incorporating the federal ''Daubert'' standard into state courts)<br>
* '''Limiting the ability of Americans to sue for injuries''' where the cause or effect was not known until much later, by [ reducing the statute of limitations] or introducing the liability-limiting [ statute of repose]<br>
* '''Limiting the power of Congress to create national rules to protect Americans''', no matter their state residence, if injured by defective corporate products distributed nationally
* [ Limiting punitive damages designed to deter wrongdoing] (also [ here])
* [ Limiting "noneconomic damages" like pain and suffering]
''These are but a few of the bills that attack consumer rights. '''To see a full list of bills in this section and send them to your computer individually,''' click [[Bills Affecting the Rights of Americans Injured or Killed by Corporations|click here]].''
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| style="color:#000000;" | <div style="padding:2px 5px;"><h3>Some of this Corporate Agenda Has Already Become Law</h3>
<h3>Limiting Damages for the Loss of Your Child, Spouse, or Parent</h3>
[[Image:Family.png|left|90px]]One of the corporate-politician proposals of ALEC would limit the ability of a family to recover for emotional damages due to the death or injury of a loved one.  (LINK)  This type of legislation basically makes working class or poor people's lives--as well as the elderly--worth less to their families because any damages for pain and suffering due to the death of a child, spouse, or parent would be limited to an amount equal to twice their loved one's lost earnings and medical expenses.  These kind of corporate provisions try to prevent a jury of YOUR peers from awarding you damages for all you have lost or suffered AFTER a jury finds that your loved one's death was the result of corporate negligence, misconduct, or greed.<br>
'''Is a local legislator who was elected to represent YOU actually protecting the profits of global corporate wrongdoers through such legislation instead of YOU and YOUR FAMILY?'''
<h3>Barring Corporate Liability for Killing Your Dog or Cat</h3>
[[Image:Pet.png|left|90px]]In addition to limiting the rights of people injured by corporations, under the guise of limiting "frivolous" litigation, one of the proposals from 2006 would make it harder for you to obtain any compensation from a company whose negligence killed your family pet.(LINK)  In 2009, Americans learned that many U.S. pet food companies had shipped the production of food for their four-legged companions overseas and that Chinese contractors had contaminated the pet food with melamine in order to increase profit margins, resulting in death and serious injuries to numerous dogs and cats in the U.S.<br>
'''If passed in your state, ALEC's corporation-backed proposal would make it very difficult for YOU to recover any damages for the loss of your beloved animal companion due to corporate negligence or misconduct in manufacturing pet food.'''
<h3>Oh, the Hypocrisy!</h3>
'''Despite ALEC's efforts to limit the rights of injured Americans to vindicate their losses through personal injury lawsuits, ALEC Executive Director Duane Parde brought a tort lawsuit against his orthopedic surgeon for malpractice in 2002,''' according to the American Association for Justice. Parde demanded $250,000 in damages, alleging he "suffered permanent injury and damage, sustained and continues to sustain conscious pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, and otherwise incurred and continues to incur losses and expenses."
[[Image:Wisconsin.png|left|90px]] '''Wisconsin Governor (and ALEC alum) Scott Walker’s first action upon taking office was to push "tort reform" measures from the ALEC corporate wish list to protect corporations from lawsuits.'''  This bill, [ Wisconsin Act 2], passed on a party-line vote and was signed into law by Walker in January 2011.  It incorporates several "tort reform" bills supported by ALEC corporations. For example, it:
* Adopts parts of the ALEC "Punitive Damage Standards Act," limiting the ability to hold corporations accountable for outrageous acts of negligence or recklessness.
* Draws liberally from the ALEC "Product Liability Act," giving corporations free rein to manufacture shoddy products that can wound or maim so long as the product is approved by a regulatory agency (and even though corporations routinely work to water-down regulatory safety standards), even if the corporation knew the product was dangerous.  See also the ALEC "Regulatory Compliance with Liability Act."
* Draws from elements of the "Comparative Fault Act" and "Joint and Several Liability Act" in changing the standards for apportioning fault to corporations.
* Extends liability protections to the nursing home industry (which supported Walker in the election), similar to ALEC bills such as the "Non-Economic Damages Act," limiting awards in cases involving for long-term skilled nursing home providers.
* Adopts the ALEC "Reliability in Expert Testimony Standards Act" verbatim, imposing federal rules corporations favor for determining who can testify as an expert witness in the state court.
'''After Governor Walker changed the rights of injured Wisconsin residents as ALEC corporations had called for, ALEC [ publicly applauded] Walker's actions.'''
''To see a marked-up version of Wisconsin Act 2 noting the relevant ALEC bills, click [ here].''
To read more about this story, click [(link to Brendan's tort article) here]
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Revision as of 14:12, 5 July 2011

ALEC Corporations' Efforts to Escape Responsibility For Causing Death or Injury

Tort Reform, Corporate Liability and the Rights of Injured Americans
Through the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, global corporations and state politicians VOTE BEHIND CLOSED DOORS to change the laws to limit the rights and remedies of Americans injured or killed by corporations. These so-called "model bills" erode the rights of an injured person, or that person's family, who files a complaint alleging that a corporation caused injury or death and should be held responsible for all the damages its actions caused. Through ALEC, corporations have "a VOICE and a VOTE" on specific changes to the law that are then proposed in state legislatures. Do you?

READ the "Model Bills" HERE

How YOU Can Expose ALEC & Share What You Learn

SPREAD THE WORD. Share information about ALEC through Facebook, e-mail and Twitter. Concerned groups and people in every state need this to investigate how ALEC corporations are rewriting laws for their own advantage. And, please join the conversation on Facebook!
EXPOSE ALEC LEGISLATORS. Demand the truth about which politicians in your state are in ALEC. Uncover whether YOUR tax dollars are paying ALEC "dues." Expose politicians who accept “scholarships” from ALEC's corporate-funded coffers for fancy trips.
EXPOSE ALEC'S ROLE IN YOUR STATE HOUSE. Read these corporate-backed "model bills" NOW and cross-check them with bills in your state legislature. Ask your local media to report on what you have found and write your local newspaper.
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