"Reforming our legal system is one of the most overlooked, yet powerful and effective ways California lawmakers can help small businesses grow and local economies thrive. Now Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recognizes that legal reform is integral to helping businesses flourish and create jobs.
"He has included legal reform as a top priority in his California Jobs Initiative, which calls for creating or retaining 100,000 jobs. The initiative also calls for eliminating frivolous lawsuits that punish California’s small businesses, saying, “Unfair and frivolous suits impact where companies locate or expand.”
"Government policy should create the conditions necessary for businesses to thrive and create jobs … not pile on more taxation, regulation and litigation that kill jobs and hurt small business."
The whole article can be found here (subscription only).
Southern California regional director Maryann Marino responded to a commentary in the Orange County Register titled, "Governor Targets Frivolous Lawsuits." Marino illustrated the connection voters are making between lawsuits and the economy. Here is what she had to say:
"Here in California, people now see legal reform as a way to turn the state's economy around. Legislators who resist legal reform should take note."
CALA co-chair David Houston had a letter-to-the-editor published in the Los Angeles Times article “No overhaul for medical malpractice"
Here is what David had to say:
"Even Democrats admit that changing the medical malpractice system could be part of the cure for the healthcare system. But concessions are now seemingly off the table due to the influence of trial attorneys."
The Sacramento Bee highlighted CALA's report on city and county spending on litigation costs in an article titled, "Whistleblowers, thanks for a job well done."
The article said:
"Public money that goes to the payment of lawsuits doesn't go to other important expenditures," said Marko Mlikotin, CALA's northern regional director.
County Counsel Robert Ryan said he couldn't dispute the underlying facts.
"If we didn't have to spend money on lawsuits and settlements, we'd be able to spend it on something else," Ryan said.
In a recent article, City of LA's legal costs swell to $137 million over past two years, the Torrance Daily Breeze reported:
"The city of Los Angeles shelled out $137 million over the past two years for legal costs - nearly double the previous two-year period and enough to hire nearly 1,300 police officers and cover most of the public works budget, according to a report released Monday.
"The study by California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse also found that Los Angeles County spent $190 million on lawsuit verdicts, settlements and outside counsel in the same period compared to $138 million in the previous two years."
The Orange County Register concurs that lawsuits take a toll on cities and counties.
The editorial noted:
"California's largest cities and counties are facing tremendous budgetary issues, yet one cost that too often goes largely unnoticed is that paid out in verdicts, settlements and for outside legal counsel.
"A study conducted by California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse found that eight of the largest cities and nine of the largest counties in California spent $504.1 million to deal with lawsuits over fiscal 2007 and 2008."
And concluded with this final thought:
"CALA has been a reliable advocate for changing laws in ways that sensibly limit the kind of lawsuits that can be filed and the level of damages sought. The costs related in the group's latest study show the reason why."
Orange County Register "OC Watchdog" Terri Sforza reported a handful of local governments in California spent more than a half-billion dollars dealing with lawsuits over two years - including $14.2 million spent by the County of Orange and $4.4 million by the city of Anaheim.
Ms. Sforza also reported that of the nine counties examined, Orange County had the fourth-highest total spending on lawsuits - much more than similarly-sized San Diego and Santa Clara counties.