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The verdict is in and it's not good. California is one of the most litigious states in the nation.

How bad is it? It's bad. More than one million lawsuits are filed every year. While some of these lawsuits have merit, many do not and these lawsuits are costing each and every one of us.

California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) is a nonpartisan grassroots movement of concerned citizens and businesses who are fighting against lawsuit abuse in California.

How Is Litigation Affecting Your Child?

Back in January, the Sacramento Bee ran an article detailing how students in the Twin Rivers Unified School District had to wear "snuggies" and use portable heaters because it was so cold and many of their classrooms lacked a functional heating system. They attributed the problem to aging facilities with units badly in need of repair and replacement. The school district said they were doing their best to keep up with repairs despite a lack of facilities money.

Later in January the Sacramento Bee reported that as students shivered in cold classrooms, there were 140 brand new HVAC units worth $3 million sitting idle, and had been sitting there for years. Finally, on April 2nd, the school district offered up a five month plan to install 71 new HVAC units by the time school starts this coming August.

It was refreshing to finally see movement on this issue, but this stalemate underlies a more serious issue. Twin Rivers is the same school district that since January 2012 has spent more than $2.6 million on litigation costs. In just the months of June and July of 2012, Twin Rivers spent more than $1.3 million.

Litigation is costing school districts millions of dollars every year. CALA did a report back in 2010 titled, Lessons in Lawsuits, The Impact of Litigation on California Schools and we noted that the State Department of Education in June of 2010 identified a record 174 of California's school districts as financially troubled. This was up 38% from January of that same year.

Yet the litigation keeps coming and the verdicts and settlements keep getting paid out. Additionally, the lawyers keep getting hired to defend the schools. Just recently the Daily Breeze reported that the Centinela Valley School District is averaging $1.7 million a year in legal fees. This school district represents 6,600 students.

Our state's educational system is a mess and excessive litigation is one of the reasons. We, as citizens, need to be telling all of our elected officials that we need legal reform to stop this nonsense. Excessive lawsuits are costing our children an education and legal reform can help fix it.

Patients Pay the Price If Trial Lawyers Roll Back MICRA

Well, they’ve done it. The trial lawyers have turned in 840,000 signatures to qualify an initiative for the November ballot that would make it easier and more profitable for lawyers to sue doctors and hospitals. While they’ll say many things in the months between now and the election, it is important to remember that this initiative is about one thing: trial lawyers wanting more money.

And where will that money come from? A recent Wall Street Journal editorial makes it clear: “Patients will ultimately bear this cost.”

The proof is in the pudding. A January 2014 study found that an increase in the current cap on non-economic damages would greatly increase the cost of health care in California by a whopping $9.9 billion. For a four-person household, that equates to $1,000 in additional health care costs.

Further, the study found that three groups in particular would bear the burden of these costs: consumers, employees, and taxpayers. Consumers will face higher health care costs. Employees will see a reduction in benefits from employee-sponsored insurance that will cost them more. And taxpayers will be on the hook for as much as $2 billion more in costs each year as state and local governments encounter higher health care costs.

Guess who profits from all these lawsuits? The trial lawyers, who are already licking their chops dreaming of the fat paychecks this initiative would generate.

When this initiative reaches the ballot, I encourage every Californian to vote ‘NO’ – and encourage your friends and family to vote against it as well. California has been named the worst ‘Judicial Hellhole’ in the nation for two years in a row. It’s painfully clear that what we need is more jobs, not more lawsuits.

Congressman Ken Calvert discusses lawsuit abuse in Corona

A meeting at a Corona restaurant gave Rep. Ken Calvert a chance to talk about his bill to curb frivolous lawsuits against businesses stemming from the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Calvert, R-Corona, joined California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse at the event. CALA contends lawsuit abuse is a “hidden tax” that imperils small businesses and costs jobs.

“The Americans with Disabilities Act was intended to improve access for disabled Americans to help them go about their day, not serve as a vehicle for shakedown lawsuits against small businesses,” said Calvert in a CALA news release. He said he introduced the ACCESS Act to protect businesses from abusive ADA litigation.

Hundreds of businesses in California, including many in the Inland Empire, have been sued by two men represented by Citizens for Disability Access, a San Diego-based law firm. The complaints allege the businesses violate the ADA by not providing legally required access or parking spaces to the disabled.

Here’s a link to a story Press-Enterprise reporter Sandra Stokley wrote about the lawsuits.

Calvert, whose district stretches from Corona to Aguanga, is up for re-election this year. He is opposed by Democrats Kerry Condley, Chris Marquez and Tim Sheridan. Independent political analysts expect Calvert to retain his seat.

Group Meets in Seal Beach to Help Stop Frivolous Lawsuits

Orange County Register's Seal Beach reporter Annie Zak covered our recent well attended and spirited small business roundtable at Spaghattini -

Here is what she had to say:

Republican Assemblyman Travis Allen spoke to a roomful of small business owners and city officials in Seal Beach earlier this month in conjunction with the group California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse to discuss how to end frivolous lawsuits that end up hurting small businesses, sometimes to the point of closing permanently.

“We don't want to live in a society that is abusive in our legal environment,” said Allen, insisting that legal change needs to be a bipartisan effort.

Article Tab: Republican Assemblyman Travis Allen and Maryann Marino, regional director of California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, at the small business roundtable discussion on Aug. 9.
Republican Assemblyman Travis Allen and Maryann Marino, regional director of California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, at the small business roundtable discussion on Aug. 9.

Tom Scott, president of the California branch of CALA, said that though legitimate suits are filed against businesses, there is also a lot of misuse.

“It's not just about lawsuit abuse. I'm more interested in what litigation costs,” Scott said. “Legal reform, to me, has to be talked about in the same breath as taxes (and) regulation.”

The group's message was that money saved on litigation could be used to save and create jobs, citing that if a mom-and-pop business uses all its money on a lawsuit and has to shut down, its employees are hurt, as well.

Read the entire story and learn how you can get involved here

 

 

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Project Lawsuit Abuse is an online forum to discuss one of the biggest problems ailing our economy and health care system: lawsuit abuse.

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