One thing I have realized about trial lawyers is that they are everywhere. I used to think they would be just in the courts or chasing ambulances. However, the longer I have been with CALA, the more I have come to recognize that their influence is strong and they are everywhere.
One example is in the regulatory process. A recent op-ed by Congressman Darrell Issa (CA-49) titled "Regulatory Tsunami Impeding Economic Growth," stated, "Simply put, the regulatory process is broken, being manipulated and exploited in an effort to reward allies of the administration such as environmental groups, trial lawyers and unions.”
Earlier this year a rash of lawsuits hit retailers in California over seats for employees. These lawsuits were the result of an order from the Industrial Welfare Commission Wage containing provisions regulating work hours, minimum wage and other issues of employment, including suitable seating. This has resulted in dozens of lawsuits against retailers throughout the state of California.
This is an example of how trial lawyers work. They continually try to open up "avenues of revenue.” Period. They will do or say almost anything to find a new way to sue people and make money. You see this related to Proposition 65 in California. Just last week the state office's Carcinogen Identification Committee voted to add chlorinated Tris to the Proposition 65 list of chemicals. This will require manufacturers of items containing the chemical to notify consumers of its presence. Tris today is commonly used as a flame retardant in furniture and baby products.
The same committee also voted on whether to list fluoride. And they were looking at whether to list acetaminophen. The game here is that if you do not warn consumers that your product contains these products or you do not post it, you will get sued. And we all know the scam associated with Proposition 65 shakedown lawsuits – we all ignore the signs because they’re everywhere, contributing nothing to public health education, yet trial lawyers make millions on the lawsuits and small businesses pay the price.
Who is on the Carcinogen Identification Committee? Who do they answer to? Who influences them? No one outside of these very tight circles would know, but I will bet you the trial lawyers are very entrenched in the process.
So whether it is within the Legislature, courts, or regulatory process, the trial lawyers are amongst us and they are trying to cash in at every turn. But that money doesn’t just appear out of thin air. As businesses increase the price of goods and services to account for their higher legal costs, it comes from you and me.