November 2012

Meningitis Outbreak: Congress, State Laws and Marjorie's Story

Patients’ legal rights are constantly under attack in the state as well as federal level. For example, in Michigan when a resident is hurt by an unsafe drug or a medical device that was approved by the FDA, state law prohibits filing a lawsuit against the manufacturer.  As if this doesn’t inhibit access to justice enough, the state legislature is trying to further restrict patients’ rights.

We only need to look at the meningitis outbreak to see why bad actors must be held responsible for the injuries they cause.  Marjorie Norwood of Tennessee is among the many victims.  She is battling meningitis from a tainted steroid shot.  Her daughter Melanie shared her mother’s tragic story.

Unequal Justice: How the 1% Court Has Limited Your Rights

“While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.” Justice John Paul Stevens on Citizens United v. FEC.

Take the Tort Quiz

3. The median damage award in tort cases is:

a. $1 million

b. Between $500,000 and $1 million

c. Between $100,000 and $500,000

d. Less than $100,000

The web of tort ‘reform’

This week, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is holding its annual States and Nation Policy Summit in D.C.  ALEC’s Civil Justice Task Force will meet to discuss new ideas on how to limit your right to access the courts.  ALEC is among the top corporate front groups pushing the tort “reform” movement, especially at the state level.  Below is an excerpt from an article in the upcoming December issue of Trial, the flagship magazine of the American Association for Justice (AAJ).

New Study: Banks Abuse the Fine Print to Avoid Accountability

A new study released by Pew yesterday evening confirms that the majority of big banks are limiting and often denying consumers’ access to justice in the fine print of checking account agreements.  One of their favorite tools is the use of forced arbitration clauses.  In the event of a dispute with a corporation, forced arbitration mandates that a consumer cannot take their case to court but instead has to go to a private arbitration forum hand-picked by the very corporation accused of wrongdoing.

Malpractice fix? We should never give up trial right

If there is some “defensive medicine” going on, it is no more unnecessary than is defensive driving. It is done to protect people. Doctors order tests because they do not want to risk their patients’ health. They order tests because they want additional confirmation of a diagnosis before ordering costly, potentially dangerous treatment. They also may want to satisfy their patients’ desire for more certainty.

Cyber Monday Shoppers

The 10 Most Dangerous Toys of All Time

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalls millions of toys every year but is stretched too thin to guard against all dangers.  In the face of such risks, parents have come to rely on consumer groups for warnings and the civil justice system as an enforcement mechanism against negligent corporations.  Here are the ten most dangerous toys of all time:

Accountability Still Needed in Oil Drilling Industry

Just one day after BP agreed to pay the federal government 4.5 billion dollars and criminal manslaughter charges were filed against two BP executives, we have yet another oil industry explosion in the Gulf

It is too early to make a comparison, but it’s clear this is an industry that needs greater accountability.  Unfortunately right now the legislative climate prevents that.  

What We are Up Against.

The “tort reform” movement to shield corporations from accountability by eliminating access to the court for consumers, workers and patients has been in existence for decades. 

Leading the charge are five shadowy front groups founded and backed by some of the largest multinational corporations.  Be sure to check out our Five Corporate Front Groups page to learn more about each of these organizations.