David Yates Nov. 6, 2014, 1:51pm

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline) – A California tort reform group recently praised voters for “stepping up” and shutting down two ballot propositions that may have increased litigation filed in the state.

On Tuesday, voters opted not to pass propositions 45 and 46, with more than 60 percent of voters in opposition of the measures.

Proposition 46 sought to increase the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act’s current cap of $250,000 to $1.1 million and also called for a prescription drug database and the mandatory drug testing of physicians.

Prop 45 sought to bestow the state insurance commissioner with veto power to reject health insurance rate hikes for the six million Californians still buying their own policies or for those who work for a small business.

Following the election, Tom Scott, executive director for California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, issued a statement praising Californians for stepping up and doing their part to fight lawsuit abuse.

“Trial lawyers had one goal in mind when with these initiatives: they wanted to file more lawsuits and make more money doing it,” Scott said.

“Trial lawyers sponsored Proposition 45 with the hopes of making millions of dollars in legal fees by filing abusive lawsuits, and Proposition 46 would have created even more lawsuit abuse in California by increasing their payouts in medical lawsuits.”

As previously reported by Legal Newsline, California trial lawyers and groups supported Prop 46, financially backing the measure with $10 million in funding.

However, the medical community and med-mal insurance providers fought back, forming a coalition armed with around $60 million in funding.

Bob Pack, author of Prop 46, said the measure's opponents "spent an overwhelming amount of money" to scare voters into not voting for the measure.

"It just goes to show how special interests can get people to vote against a consumer protection measure," Pack said. "Insurance companies and the California Medical Association sent negative messages to voters as a scare tactic, and that message was hard to overcome." 

For the past two years, the American Tort Reform Association has deemed California the top “Judicial Hellhole” in the nation. And if the measures had passed, the Golden State may have ensured another top spot in the rankings.

“California is known as the nation’s worst ‘Judicial Hellhole,’ and the failure of propositions 45 and 46 demonstrates voters have had enough of the trial lawyers’ efforts to create even more lawsuit abuse in California,” Scott said.

Reach David Yates at elections@legalnewsline.com

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