Soundbites: Message Point Archive by Topic
Exactly. “The bottom line is that when the law is left to lobbyists and politicians instead of judges and juries, everyday Texans are left holding the bag. So Weekley [Richard Weekley, TLR] and his cronies in the CEO set may be faring better because our state has shielded them from accountability, but the rest of us aren’t.”
Excerpted from: Letter-to-Editor: Texans fare better when there’s accountability by N. Alex Winslow (Texas Watch), Midland Reporter News 3-3-2013
Torts & Tea. “…In Texas, we're learning what happens when you can't turn to a lawyer for help. Two strong forces are making it nearly impossible to seek redress for injury in state courts: sweeping tort reform laws and a Texas Supreme Court with an activist conservative bent. The results aren't pretty.”
“But it's not just attorneys involved in specific cases who believe the court is engaging in wrong-headed activism. Tea party activists are beginning to question whether Texas Republicans have dismantled the Seventh Amendment - the right to a jury trial - in their slavish devotion to limiting lawsuits.”
“Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips uses Texas as a cautionary tale against Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's plan for federal tort reform. "Texans are losing their Seventh Amendment rights because they can't get lawyers to take cases anymore," Phillips wrote in a recent blog post.”
Excerpted from: Patricia Kilday Hart: Texas takes tort reform too far, Houston Chronicle, 8/10/2012.
Junk Science or Junk Lawsuit? "The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is considering a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency challenging EPA's plans to regulate greenhouse gases, according to chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue."
"Asked at a news conference today whether the chamber would sue EPA to roll back its recent decision that greenhouse gases are pollutants that endanger public health and the environment, Donohue said, "Maybe."
Excerpted from: Chamber of Commerce Considering EPA Lawsuit, by Kenneth T. Walsh, US News & World Report, 1-12-2010
Deplorable Methodology "In 1998, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce... created what it calls its "Institute for Legal Reform" (ILR) to pursue the Chamber's agenda of protecting corporations from liability. In pursuit of this agenda, the Chamber publishes a Survey of State Liability, an annual "ranking" of states that criticizes certain state business climates based on nothing more than some corporate lawyers' views of a state's legal system."
"...Theodore Eisenberg, Professor of Law and Statistical Sciences at Cornell University, concludes, "The Chamber's willingness to vilify states and counties to promote both itself and legislation may be the product of the same mentality that has led to shocking business failures."
Excerpted from: New Empirical Analysis - U.S. Chamber for Commerce Liability Survey: INACCURATE, UNFAIR AND BAD FOR BUSINESS, Center for Justice & Democracy, 9-29-09
FLASHBACK 1995. "The Clinton plan would have imposed sweeping changes... with consequences far greater than Congress could possibly consider...lt represented a regulation-minded, top-down, centralized approach at a time when the world was moving toward decentralization and flexibility-and when the supposed health crisis was solving itself anyway. Or so goes the conventional wisdom... The more people learned about this plan, the less they liked it, and it finally died a natural and well-deserved death."
"But suppose that what everyone knows is wrong."
Excerpted from: A Triumph of Misinformation, by James Fallows, The Atlantic, January 1995
Yours is frivolous - mine is good business. "As the economy melts down, even Texas' tort warriors and their kin are turning to civil courts to recover losses from ruined financial firms. Dallas energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens--a $1 million donor to Texans for Lawsuit Reform-filed a lawsuit last October to recoup $60 million from bankrupt Lehman Brothers.
"In January, a family foundation affiliated with a Texas tort-reform giant filed a $1.8 million claim against hammered Dallas hedge fund Highland Capital Management LP, depicting the foundation as a victim of deceit. Amarillo's Mary E. Bivins Foundation is named for the great-grandmother of former Republican state Sen. Teel Bivins... In 1995, then-Sen. Bivins authored or co-authored each of the four major tort-restriction bills that then-Gov. George W. Bush signed into law."
Excerpted from: Tort Warriors Resort to Litigation by Andrew Wheat, The Texas Observer 3-20-09
Alarming! Or is it just me? "We need to set a new goal for law -- to define an open area of free choice. This requires judges and legislatures to affirmatively assert social norms of what's reasonable and what's not."
Excerpted from: How Modern Law Makes Us Powerless, Op-ed by Philip K. Howard, Wall Street Journal, Jan 26, 2009
Cloaks and dollars. Lou Dobbs: "The reality is that these two organizations [Business Roundtable & US Chamber of Commerce] are working against the American people and have been for some time and haven't got the guts to come on the show and talk about the issues. They are behind the scenes stifling the voice of American business. Think about the last time you heard a CEO step up in front of a camera and mike actually express himself or herself on any issue of great public policy importance and it's disgusting that these associations are just really -- they're cloaks, they're veils, for the self-influence of business. It's a shame". Excerpted from: CNN - LOU DOBBS TONIGHT Transcript, September 29, 2008
It's Football Season..."TLR" Fumbles .. Last week the self-styled "Texans for Lawsuit Reform" website featured as a model supporter, a doctor whose record was far from stellar.
In a Houston Chronicle column from September 30th, reporter Clay Robison turned up information that the doc in question has had multiple lawsuits and complaints filed against him. According to the article, the Texas Medical Board accused him of providing substandard care for seven patients over the years, and in one case, the Board reprimanded said doctor and fined him $7,500 for a misdiagnosis that may have cost a 16-year-old girl her leg. The doctor is now retired, with complaints still pending against him.
According to Robison, "None of his professional problems was mentioned on the TLR Web site, but his profile was removed last week, within an hour after I informed a TLR spokeswoman about them."
Source: Failure to do a background check backfired on group, Houston Chronicle, September 30, 2007
Chamber Chatter. President and chief executive of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Tom Donahue, "has repeatedly criticized Eliot Spitzer, [then] New York attorney general, who has brought prosecutions against brokerage firms, insurance companies and mutual funds."
Said [now New York Governor] Spitzer, "I think he is a shill for guilty people, and Tom Donohue has never once found a crime that he couldn't justify, as long as it was committed by one of his dues-paying members."
Source: Center for Justice & Democracy, Spotlight on Justice
Over 90% of TLR PAC Contributions Come From Just 6 Donors. "Mark McCaig of Texans for Individual Rights. "Campaign finance reports filed this week by Texans for Lawsuit Reform reveal that that more than 90% of the contributions to their political action committee came from just six donors. Additionally, these reports reveal that nearly 40% of contributions to the TLR PAC during the reporting period came from homebuilders."
"Mark McCaig, President of Texans for Individual Rights, stated 'While Texans for Lawsuit Reform claims to be a grassroots organization with over 15,000 members, their campaign finance reports show them to be nothing more than a front group for a small group of wealthy businessmen."
Source: Texans for Individual Rights Press Release, 7-19-2007