Message of the Day

Lawsuit Abuse Takes Center Stage in Presidential Race

Today, Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) rallied in South Carolina as Gov. George W. Bush unveiled his comprehensive plan to end lawsuit abuse. With this proposal, Gov. Bush continues his battle with the trial lawyers, one of the most powerful and well-funded special interests in America.

CSE members Gail and Richard Taylor of Irmo, SC were a part of Gov. Bush’s roundtable discussion. Gail, a first grade teacher, explained to Gov. Bush how lawsuits prevent her school from hiring quality teachers. “We can’t get enough good teachers for our children because of the fear of being sued. This has to change.” Her husband Richard, a minister and musical director, agreed that lawsuits are hurting schools and even restricting the ability of churches to help the needy.

“Our legal system is being exploited by an elite group of greedy trial lawyers. In Texas, five lawyers received $3.3 billion for the tobacco settlement — an astonishing fee. Much of that money has found its way back into the political system to elect politicians who oppose common sense civil justice reforms. For example, in the last four months of the 1998 campaign, 85 percent of the contributions to the Texas Democratic Party were made by trial lawyers,” said Jaci Brown, CSE director of civil justice reform.

“The real problem isn’t that greedy trial lawyers are getting rich, it’s that they are robbing decent, honest Americans of their money, trust, freedom, values and peace of mind,” Brown said. “Our tort system costs over $162 billion annually — two and half times the amount we spend on police and fire protection. Teachers are afraid to instill discipline in the classroom, and communities are paying huge liability premiums.”

George W. Bush has taken on this powerful special interest and won. As governor of Texas, he has fought for and signed:

Punitive damage reform

Joint and several liability reform

Stricter sanctions for filing a frivolous lawsuit

Venue reform

Medical malpractice reform

Y2K Liability legislation

Employee reference reform

The proposals Gov. Bush introduced today can give back our legal system to decent, honest Americans with real grievances. His approach includes proposals to:

Reduce frivolous lawsuits

Encourage alternative dispute resolution

Discourage forum shopping

Protect clients from unscrupulous lawyers

Protect taxpayers from paying unreasonable fees to private attorneys