These Suits Don’t Fit

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At every turn, California chooses to create lawsuits that hurt job and business growth.

With the second highest unemployment rate in the nation – reported at 12.3%  but in truth probably much more – and double-digit unemployment projected through at least 2013, California is in desperate need of jobs.

Despite this, our leaders in the Legislature, courts, and government offices consistently support policies that hurt job creation and business growth by encouraging lawsuits against businesses.

With more than 1 million lawsuits filed every year, California is one of the most litigious states in the country.

A few examples of these abusive lawsuits are:

– A few years back David Houston’s restaurant chain in Southern California, Barney’s Beanery, was targeted by personal injury lawyers. He was forced to settle for nearly $1 million, and watched more than one-third of the settlement money go to personal injury lawyers, while some of the plaintiffs received as little as 35 cents. This forced him to push back his plans for expanding his business

– In December 2010, labor unions teamed up with environmentalists and sued to block a recently approved large-scale solar energy project in Riverside County. The project, which qualifies for federal stimulus dollars, would create more than 600 new jobs during construction and generate enough green energy to power 75,000 homes. Instead, it remains on hold due to litigation that alleges environmental violations under federal law and CEQA. The group that sued to stall the project – California Unions for Reliable Energy – has long been criticized for using environmental lawsuits to pressure developers to hire union workers.

“When greedy trial lawyers are able to take monetary punishment into their own hands, extort money from small business and the families that own them, making themselves a handsome profit with no benefit to the public, we know we are in dire need of reform in the court system,” notes Barry E. Zanck of Americap Direct Funding.

Numerous bills to reform the state’s civil justice system have been defeated while legislation that expands the opportunities for more and higher-stakes litigation is passed. California’s sue-happy culture fuels abusive lawsuits instead of job growth. We have replaced common sense with a “jackpot” mentality, which is particularly rampant in Orange County.

According to a recent survey 94% of Californians feel that it is important for the Legislature to enact reforms to help attract more jobs to California and retain jobs currently in the state.

Observes Travis Haushauer, of Squeeze Inn, “Our state is in financial ruin and we have one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation, yet our courts and Legislature push an aggressive pro-lawsuit agenda that makes it much harder to attract business, and for businesses that are here to succeed and provide the jobs our community needs.”

Abusive and predatory lawsuits have severely affected, and in some cases, even closed down many small businesses in California. It’s time to ask why, year after year, our leaders help create more lawsuits than jobs.

Lawsuit abuse hurts almost all Californians. The time has come to ask your legislators to represent you and not their trial lawyer and legal brethren.

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