The verdict is in and it's not good. California is one of the most litigious states in the nation.
How bad is it? It's bad. More than one million lawsuits are filed every year. While some of these lawsuits have merit, many do not and these lawsuits are costing each and every one of us.
California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) is a nonpartisan grassroots movement of concerned citizens and businesses who are fighting against lawsuit abuse in California.
Published on Wednesday, 16 April 2014 15:45
Some things should not come as a surprise. When it comes to the California Legislature, one of the least surprising things is that there are certain legislators who have an appetite for pleasing the Consumer Attorneys of California. State Senator Noreen Evans has done exactly that with SB 1381, which is related to genetically engineered food. Some of you might remember Proposition 37 from 2012, an initiative aimed at labeling genetically modified food. Well, it seems that Senator Evans was not happy with the fact that California voters rejected it, so she has quietly reinvented it in SB 1381.
Proposition 37 would have required labeling on raw or processed food offered for sale to consumers if the food was made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways. It also prohibited labeling or advertising such foods as "natural". CALA opposed Prop. 37 because it would have created more opportunities for lawsuit abuse. This initiative was written by the same individual who wrote Proposition 65 back in 1986 which has led to rampant abuse of our legal system. And I am sure that person’s fingerprints are somewhere on SB 1831, which states that California consumers have the right to know, through labeling, whether the foods they purchase were produced with genetic engineering. The bill also allows people to sue for alleged violations of the labeling law and to collect attorney's fees.
I support transparency when it comes to food and food sourcing, but I become suspicious when a bill that is meant to be about food includes a private right of action. To me, this becomes a total cash cow for the trial lawyers. We have seen this time and time again through the Americans with Disability Act, Proposition 65 and Proposition 37. It creates a cottage industry for the trial lawyers, encouraging lawsuits against businesses up and down this state and hurting job creation.
SB 1381 is the next Proposition 65. It will result in another cottage industry of trial lawyers shaking down businesses across this state (and probably even out of state, as we have seen with Proposition 65). California does not need more lawsuits, it needs to create more jobs and improve its business climate. More litigation is not the answer.
Published on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 17:35
Recently, I wrote a blog post titled, “The World Is Run By People Who Show Up," about how constituents can greatly affect the positions of their elected officials – but only when they speak up. California CALA recently held our fourth annual CALA/Civil Justice Association of California Day at the Capitol where we talked to legislators and their staff members about lawsuit abuse, and WOW, did our supporters show up.
When we started this event three years ago, about 30 people attended. This year, we had nearly 200 people - a fantastic number, especially considering that CALA is comprised solely of grassroots supporters. These people show up because they’re sick of our legal system putting greed before justice and they want our legislators to know it.
The folks who attended packed a lot into their day. They sat with others who have experienced the pain of lawsuit abuse. Hearing these stories – and realizing they are not alone - brought our supporters together and reinforced their desire to make changes to help not only themselves but other small business owners in California who are routinely victimized by the trial bar.
They heard from Assembly Member Brian Jones, who spoke about AB 2361, his bill to reduce abusive Proposition 65 lawsuits. They also heard from the Executive Officer of the California Commission on Disability Access, Steve Castellanos, who explained the litigation problem with Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuits here in California.
CALA supporters, most of whom have been victimized by abusive lawsuits, then met with their respective legislators at the Capitol and explained how their communities are impacted by those who abuse the system for their own gain.
While everyone who attended our Day at the Capitol knows California has a long way to go to a full economic recovery, our event was a step in the right direction for the state. Enacting legal reform to stop lawsuit abuse is vital to making California golden again. And if the world is run by the people who show up, our supporters did a great job of making their voices heard.
Our work, though, is far from over. Stay tuned to this blog as we track bills in the legislature and make sure that our legislators vote to create jobs, not lawsuits.
Published on Wednesday, 28 August 2013 17:42
Ted Apodaca, editor of News Enterprise, covered our packed CALA small business roundtable in Seal Beach.
His article, "Lawsuit Abuse Talk for Local Businesses" begins:
"California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse held a small business round table discussion on Friday at Spaghettini Restaurant in Seal Beach.
State Assemblyman for the 72nd District Travis Allen was among the guest speakers and Los Alamitos City Councilman Dean Grose and Cypress Mayor Pro Tem Leroy Mills were among those in attendance. Allen spoke of upcoming legislation that could help curb the lawsuit abuse in California, mostly coming as a result of frivolous lawsuits for Prop 65 and American’s For Disability Act violations.
Part of the problem, according to CALA and Allen, is that businesses have no option to fix problems if they are found to be in violation. This has led to what Allen referred to as “shakedown” lawsuits by lawyers looking for a costly settlement from businesses. Allen said that while California has eight percent of the nations population, it has 40 percent of the ADA lawsuit filings.
“Businesses need to band together to be stronger against these frivolous lawsuits,” Allen said.
Read entire aritcle here.
Orange County Register's Seal Beach reporter Annie Zak covered our recent well attended and spirited small business roundtable at Spaghattini -
Here is what she had to say:
Republican Assemblyman Travis Allen spoke to a roomful of small business owners and city officials in Seal Beach earlier this month in conjunction with the group California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse to discuss how to end frivolous lawsuits that end up hurting small businesses, sometimes to the point of closing permanently.
“We don't want to live in a society that is abusive in our legal environment,” said Allen, insisting that legal change needs to be a bipartisan effort.
Tom Scott, president of the California branch of CALA, said that though legitimate suits are filed against businesses, there is also a lot of misuse.
“It's not just about lawsuit abuse. I'm more interested in what litigation costs,” Scott said. “Legal reform, to me, has to be talked about in the same breath as taxes (and) regulation.”
The group's message was that money saved on litigation could be used to save and create jobs, citing that if a mom-and-pop business uses all its money on a lawsuit and has to shut down, its employees are hurt, as well.
Read the entire story and learn how you can get involved here