I read the article in the Sunday, April 8, paper about the changes to the Consumer Protection Laws and I think some points were missed.
Mr. Barborak talks about the innocent victims, and certainly there are some and they deserve fair compensation, but the changes in the law do not take that away from any legitimate victim.
What this legislative change addresses are the frivolous lawsuits that end up costing all of us more, and cost businesses in expensive insurances to fight these frivolous suits. According to the US Federal News, civil lawsuits cost the US economy over $200 billion per year and every taxpayer in the US is now paying what amounts to a "lawsuit tax" of around $700- $800 per year. Is this money well spent?
Remember the woman who sued McDonald's because her hot coffee was ... well ... hot? Or how about the woman who sued a TV station because they forecast good weather but it ended up raining. She sued claiming the forecast caused her to underdress which caused her to get the flu which caused her to miss a week of work, and then there were the medical expenses, and of course, the stress she endured! Give us all a break! Do any of us really think these were fair lawsuits to protect "innocent" victims, or that these were companies that set out to intentionally harm someone? Having to protect themselves against such frivolous suits means companies pay for more and more insurance and when that cost gets passed along, who do you think ends up paying for the non-sense? Each and every one of us! Personally I believe we all have better things to do with $700 or $800 a year.
Tort reform has been needed for a long time, not to stop legitimate suits with real victims, but for those unscrupulous people who will team up with any shady lawyer willing to file a suit just to try to force businesses to fork over insurance money... and we all pay for that!
No one, including me, has an issue with innocent people who have become victimized getting a fair and just settlement from a company. But I, for one, am happy to know that we won't be paying triple damages or increased prices for goods and services just to cover frivolous suits, or the expenses of those lawyers who promote them. Just because it rains, shouldn't mean the money has to pour ... not out of our pockets.
State Rep. Craig Newbold