I do not think anyone will disagree that California has been experiencing a pretty bad run for the pass few years and it looks like it will continue into 2013. Unless there are major changes, we'll have deficits hovering at over $25 billion and unemployment at slightly above12% (nearly 20% in the Central Valley) for the next few years at least. Not suprisignly, there's not a lot of confidence in the Legislature, so why is it that California's legislators continue to encourage lawsuits that hurt job creation and business growth? California is one of the most litigious states in the country. More than 1.2 million civil lawsuits were filed in this state just last year.
No matter where you look- from our courts to our state legislature to the office of our attorney general - California chooses to create obstacles for employers and small businesses owners by encouraging more lawsuits. Other states like Nevada and Arizona are adopting policies that make their business climates more attractive. Abusive and predatory lawsuits are seriously impacting or forcing businesses out of this state.
For example, look at how the blatant abuse of the Americans with Disability Act has threatened to shutter small businesses. Just ask Lee Ky at Donuts to Go or Travis Hausauer at the Squeeze Inn. Look at how environmental laws like CEQA have been exploited through litigation to advance the political agendas of interest groups. The same with Wage and Workplace lawsuits. These lawsuits do not just impact Fortune 500 companies, they are hitting both large and small business owners. You do not even need to proof to file a lawsuit against an employer and shake them down for hundreds, if not millions, of dollars. It is the same with Proposition 65 and class actions in this state.
California has not seen a lot of legal reform; the only major reform was Proposition 64 back in 2004, and that is being dismantled by the courts. The Legislature is dominated by the trial lawyers' lobby- just in the past election cycle they have spent over $5.2 million supporting policies that will keep their revenue streams flowing.
We have a choice in this state. We can keep passing more and more bad laws that result in more and more bad lawsuits, which in turn will continue hurting our economy, or we can change course. We can look at implementing legal reform. In its Tort Liability Index in 2010, the Pacific Research Institute stated that just one tort reform in California would create 141,000 jobs.
That's why CALA is launching its Bad Lawsuits Cost Good Jobs campaign. We're going to tell our legislators it's time to pass the no-cost, common-sense reforms that will reduce litigation and create jobs in California.
You tell me California, do you want more jobs or do you want more revenue streams for the personal injury lawyers? I will take the jobs, thank you very much.