January 2012

Asbestos Manufacturers Continue Hiding Behind ALEC

Idaho is just the latest state to introduce American Legislative Executive Council (ALEC) model legislation aimed at providing immunity for Crown Holding, a major ALEC financial backer. This bill, if enacted, would leave little recourse for those suffering from the deadly effects of asbestos, shielding Crown from any accountability.

Preview: February’s Trial Magazine

It’s almost February, which means it is time for the annual transportation issue of Trial, AAJ’s flagship magazine for attorneys and the legal community. This issue’s theme—Moving Violations—drives home practice information about a range of transportation cases, including how to:

Lawmakers Call Out Carlyle for Denying Investors’ Legal Rights

Members of Congress are calling out Carlyle for including a forced arbitration clause in its proposed IPO filing that would ban shareholder class proceedings, severely limiting the ability of investors to hold the company publicly accountable for fraud, misconduct, or negligence.

Feres Doctrine Again Strikes Military Families

AAJ has long railed against the broad application of the Feres doctrine, an outdated 1950 U.S. Supreme Court decision that prevents active duty military from holding the government accountable for negligent conduct. Time and again, we have seen servicemembers injured or killed by entirely preventable medical malpractice, leaving families with no legal recourse. While legislation has been introduced in Congress to aid these servicemembers, none has yet passed.

Medical Liability Reform Stalled by Tenth Amendment Advocates

Talking Points Memo asked the question: “Whatever happened to medical malpractice reform?” Despite being a high priority for House Leadership, the medical liability reform bill in the House, H.R. 5, has yet to make it to the floor for a vote.  As TPM points out:

The answer is that states’ rights advocates within the House GOP caucus have split from top Republicans on the lynchpin issue of whether the federal government should limit the amount that malpractice victims can sue doctors in a particular case, forcing party elders to shelve the bill.

Jan 19, 2012 02:49 PM

Ark. Supreme Court continues to strike down law limiting patients’ rights

Today, Arkansas State Supreme Court ruled a provision of the Civil Justice Reform Act regarding expert testimony unconstitutional. The court held that this portion of the law dictates procedures of the court, which is outside of the State legislature’s power.

As Arkansas News Bureau points out, the court has already struck down provisions of the law regarding evidence, damages and permissible defenses.

Congress must act to protect consumers against forced arbitration

Last week’s decision in CompuCredit Corp. v. Greenwood is just the newest erosion of consumers’ rights by the U.S. Supreme Court. The decision ultimately leaves credit repair companies with no accountability when they knowingly deceive their consumers by eliminating their right to a jury trial. It is also further evidence that the Federal Arbitration Act does not work for consumers or employees.

Which U.S. Chamber Will Show Up Today?

Today the U.S. Chamber is hosting its annual State of American Business event, where President and CEO Tom Donohue will outline the Chamber’s policy and political agenda for this year. One key question going into the address is which U.S. Chamber will show up? The lawsuit-happy Chamber, or the Chamber intent on closing the courthouse door on American employees and consumers? Or will this hypocrisy even faze the Chamber?

Breaking News: AAJ Response to SCOTUS Decision in CompuCredit v. Greenwood

Read AAJ’s full statement on the CompuCredit v. Greenwood decision here, and learn more about this case from AAJ’s amicus brief here.

In short, from AAJ President Gary M. Paul:

Forced arbitration denies justice for grieving families

Seven years after seeking justice in the courts, the families of four fallen Blackwater guards accepted a settlement without being permitted to bring their case in front of a jury.

The four families filed a lawsuit against Blackwater in January 2005 claiming the defense contractor cut corners in order to maximize their profit and as a result broke their contractual obligations to the former veterans by sending them into hostile territory without proper protection.