Calif. group begins tort reform campaign

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Mar 8, 2011

California Sen. Jean Fuller said, "California consistently chooses lawsuits over jobs."

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline) - California's Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse has launched an effort to show how lawsuit abuse is hurting the state's economy.

The organization said the campaign will demonstrate the connection between litigation and jobs, and invite residents to share their own stories of lawsuit abuse.

On Tuesday, state lawmakers and victims of abusive lawsuits joined CALA supporters on the steps of the state Capitol in condemning California's status as one of the most litigious states in the nation and pushed for reform of the legal system.

"With millions of Californians out of work, we need to end the abuse of our legal system that is stifling economic growth in this state," CALA Co-Chairman David Houston said in a statement.

"As a small business owner and lawsuit abuse victim, I know firsthand that lawsuit abuse is hurting California."

In addition to Tuesday's event, CALA also released a report showing how abuse of the legal system is slowing the state's economic recovery. The report identifies what it feels are common abuses of the legal system, explains how they impede job creation, and provides examples of lawsuit abuse from all over California.

"California consistently chooses lawsuits over jobs," Republican state Sen. Jean Fuller said in a statement. "Rather than pursuing no-cost, common-sense solutions that will reform our civil justice system, our state encourages costly litigation that is derailing economic growth and chasing jobs away from our state."

Republican Assemblyman Donald P. Wagner said California "continually chooses" to create laws that hurt employers and small business owners.

"If we are serious about growing our economy and attracting new jobs, then it's time we stand up to the personal injury bar and reign in its abuse of our legal system," he said in a statement.

Houston even points to the state Attorney General's Office as a contributor of such lawsuits. Kamala Harris is the state's attorney general.

"Everywhere you look -- from our courts to our state Legislature to the office of our attorney general -- California chooses to create obstacles for employers and small business owners by encouraging more lawsuits," he said. "It's time to stop this abuse of our legal system that chases jobs away from our state."

California's Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, according to its website, is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to educating the public about the negative effects of lawsuit abuse and challenging those who abuse the country's legal system for personal gain.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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