Texas Rainmaker
October 6th, 2004 9:42 am
In The Esteemed Words of My Cousin Vinny: “Uh, everything that guy says is bullshit”
John Edwards said in the debate, �They talk about frivolous cases. We believe cases that don’t belong in the system should never be in the system.�

Yeah, a guy who, in just the four years before he became a senator, made over $26 million on these kinds of lawsuits is suddenly an advocate for tort reform. Is anyone actually buying that line?

In fact, here�s what the American Tort Reform Association has to say about him:

�Senator Edwards has consistently supported a pro-litigation, anti-civil justice reform agenda that puts his wealthy personal injury lawyer patrons ahead of the American people�

Now there�s a ringing endorsement.

In fact, Edwards thus far has been the only Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee absent from the debates on asbestos litigation reform, leaving some to suggest that Edwards may be intentionally staying away so as not to offend the primary financers of his presidential bid, personal injury lawyers.

The Tort System in the United States is the most expensive in the world, costing over $200 billion in 2001, or 2.04% of GDP. This represents a tort tax of $721 per citizen. Because of the nationwide-explosion in litigation, doctors are quitting their practices due to unaffordable malpractice insurance, companies are being bankrupted by the asbestos litigation crisis, and lottery-sized verdicts are being handed down in �hellhole� jurisdictions where the concepts of fairness and equal justice under the law stop at the front steps of the courthouse. In response, Congress is considering several reforms to bring balance to the civil justice system.
Senator Edwards has either been opposed to these common-sense reform measures or conspicuously absent from the debates.

Medical Liability Reform: HR 5/S. 11

- MICRA-style reforms including a $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages, periodic payments of judgments in excess of $50,000, and a sliding scale on lawyers contingency fees.

- HR 5 passed the House of Representatives on March 13, 2003, by a vote of 229-196.

- S. 11 was effectively killed in the Senate by a Democratic led filibuster. On July 9, 2003, the Senate voted 49-48 to proceed the measure, 11 votes shy of the 60 votes needed to invoke cloture.

- Senator Edwards voted against doctors and affordable healthcare for patients by rejecting the motion to invoke cloture and to stop the filibuster of medical liability reform.

Class Action Reform: H.R. 115 and S. 274

- Commonsense reform that moves cases out of state court that belong in federal court and pro-consumer protections to ensure that class members receive most of the benefits of settlements instead of personal injury lawyers.

- H.R. 1115 passed the House of Representatives on June 12, 2003, by a vote of 253-170.

- S. 274 was reported favorably out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 11, 2003, by a vote of 12-7.

- Senator Edwards opposed reigning in the abuses in �hellhole� jurisdictions and voted against reporting S. 274 favorably out of committee.

Of course their empty rhetoric rings hollow when compared to the facts. Let’s just look at the tort reform issue from the very group that supports the Kerry-Edwards ticket. This group is the fourth largest political donor in America and gives over 90% of that money to the Democrats:

�The Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA) has 56,000 members worldwide. A lobbying heavyweight, the association has been battling any attempt at tort reform, including recent proposals to cap awards in medical malpractice lawsuits. ATLA also lobbies Congress on any legislation that may inhibit the ability of consumers to bring lawsuits, particularly against health care providers, asbestos companies or insurance companies processing claims related to terrorism. The association favors Democrats, who oppose most attempts to initiate tort reform.

So is John Edwards saying his ticket is going to go against the fourth largest political donor in the country� a donor that prefers to give to his party over 90% of the time? I don�t think so.

In fact, John Edwards is a prime example of a politician addicted to personal injury lawyer cash.

- 86% of money contributed to Edwards� senatorial bid came from personal injury lawyers, including $6.15 million from Edwards himself.

- $4.9 million of the $7.4 million raised during 1st quarter 2003 for the Edwards� Presidential campaign came from personal injury lawyers. That equals 66% of all contributions.

- Edwards created the New American Optimists PAC which has received more than $3.2 million, at an average of $70,000 per contribution, from personal injury lawyers and their associates. Personal injury lawyer contributions to NAO constituted 70% of total contributions.

- NAO re-invested money during 2002 in early caucus states. The PAC contributed $34,000 to local candidates in New Hampshire, $103,000 in cash to the Iowa Democratic party, and $27,500 to local Iowa candidates.

It�s just more hollow campaign rhetoric from a couple of guys who are reciting the talking points they think will score with focus groups� But fortunately, in this age of information, a campaign�s rhetoric can be researched and analyzed. In this day and age, substance matters, and John Edwards is like the Goodyear Blimp - impressive in appearance, graceful in maneuvering and polished to a shiny glow� but filled with nothing but hot air.

Update: Jonathon at BlogsForBush shows more examples of how the DNC is owned by the trial lawyers.

Posted by TexasRainmaker |

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