The 2013 CALA Legal Reform Wish List

Tom Scott
Executive Director, California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse

California’s economy has taken a beating over the last five years. One thing our legislature and public officials can do to help our economy grow is embrace legal reform to create jobs and make California more appealing to investors. With that said, here is CALA’s 2013 Wish List for Legal Reform:

  1. Restore Court Funding – The funding for California’s court system has been cut by $1.2 billion – more than 24 percent – over the past five years. Without judges and courthouses, our civil justice system is unable to apply and interpret all the laws we pass in California. What’s more, with fewer judges and courtrooms, abusive lawsuits can further clog our court system and delay justice for those who deserve it.
  2. Stop Proposition 65 Shakedown Lawsuits – If you think ADA lawsuits are bad, check out the private Prop 65 settlements on the Attorney General’s website. This total abuse of a well-intended initiative must stop.
  3. Implement SB 1186 – A bipartisan group of legislators passed ADA reform during the last legislative session. Let’s implement the reforms and begin stopping shakedown lawsuits. Federal ADA Reform – In 2012, U.S. Senator Feinstein encouraged our state legislature to pass legal reform to stop abusive ADA lawsuits at the state level. It would be great to see her introduce legislation at the federal level with a corrective action period.
  4. Class Action Reform – It seems like everyday I am reading about another class action case in which a big settlement is reached giving trial attorneys millions of dollars while consumers receive only a coupon worth a few dollars. We need to fix our class-action system to prevent this abuse.
  5. CEQA Reform – Lawsuits are a huge part of the abuse of CEQA laws and they usually have nothing to do with the environment.
  6. Transparency in the Public Sector – Taxpayers deserve to know when their taxes are being spent on litigation. With public budgets strained at every level of government, taxpayers should know how much litigation is costing them.
  7. End Private Rights of Actions – “Private Right of Action” is a term used to describe a provision of a bill that permits lawsuits alleging a law or statute has been violated by private citizens (ie: personal injury lawyers). If I see this one more time tucked deep in an initiative or a bill in the legislature I will scream. It is a trial lawyer payday and it needs to stop.
  8. Bipartisan Cooperation on Legal Reform – We saw it on SB 1186 and we saw additional bipartisan agreement on legislation passed at the end of the 2012 legislative session. We all want this state’s economy to improve, and I think there are a lot of pragmatic people who believe we can find solutions without encouraging more lawsuits.

Happy Holidays to everyone and here is to a productive 2013.

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