Saturday, October 31, 2015

Those dang "trial lawyers"

When you hear David Vitter spend a goodly portion of the next month complaining about the "trial lawyers" out to get him, just remember who he's trying to protect.
Some state judges have called the class-action bans a “get out of jail free” card, because it is nearly impossible for one individual to take on a corporation with vast resources.

Patricia Rowe of Greenville, S.C., learned this firsthand when she initiated a class action against AT&T. Ms. Rowe, who was challenging a $600 fee for canceling her phone service, was among more than 900 AT&T customers in three states who complained about excessive charges, state records show. When the case was thrown out last year, she was forced to give up and pay the $600. Fighting AT&T on her own in arbitration, she said, would have cost far more.

By banning class actions, companies have essentially disabled consumer challenges to practices like predatory lending, wage theft and discrimination, court records show.

“This is among the most profound shifts in our legal history,” William G. Young, a federal judge in Boston who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, said in an interview. “Ominously, business has a good chance of opting out of the legal system altogether and misbehaving without reproach.”
Vitter, who lives in something of an alternate fact universe, believes big business is not quite yet insulated enough from any semblance of accountability.
“I’m the only candidate for governor this year who has said flat out the biggest problem we have for our business climate is the litigation environment,” Vitter said. “We have to change it.” 
Here is BP's head of State and Local Government Affairs speaking a few weeks ago to an industry luncheon.  Notice how similar his and Vitter's absurd takes are.  
“I believe in the legal system; I believe in its fairness and impartiality. I don't believe in a system that measures justice based on the depths of your pockets,” Ellis said, citing a 2013 U.S. Chamber of Commerce report that ranked Louisiana 49th among lawsuit climates. “The oil and gas industry in Louisiana...are threatened not as much by the decline in oil prices and market prices as they are by the attitude that some have that the industry's deep pockets make for good lawsuits.” 
This week, Vitter received an endorsement from the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association... just in case you didn't already know he understands how prostitution works.

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