Litigation costs could have funded sheriffs, police officers, firefighters
(Sacramento, CA) – In the past two years, taxpayers in Sacramento have spent nearly $20 million on lawsuit settlements and awards and outside counsel in a bonanza for personal injury lawyers who seem to be increasingly viewing taxpayers as their next big meal ticket. The result is fewer dollars for needs like first responders, law enforcement, parks and libraries. The findings were issued today in a report by California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse.
“When local governments are the subject of frivolous lawsuits, it is the taxpayers who pay,” said Diann Rogers, executive director of Central California Citizens Against Lawsuits Abuse.
“The tax that Sacramentans are paying to fund litigation against the city and county is enormous,” said Rogers. “These funds could be going to much more important things, such as sheriffs, police officers and firefighters. Instead, personal injury lawyers are lining their pockets with our money.”
According to recent budget documents, the amount Sacramento taxpayers spent on litigation costs could have funded:
- More than triple the $1.7 million spent to add positions to staff an interim prisoner housing facility at Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center;
- Installation of in-car cameras in Sacramento County squad cars to increase officer safety and improve community understanding of law enforcement activities six times over;
- Twenty-three firefighters at an average annual cost of $115,820; or
- More than 13 sworn police officers, at an average annual cost of $113,500 per officer.
The information compiled in the report came from public information requests of the localities.
“Citizens of the Sacramento area deserve to know where their tax dollars are going,” Rogers said. “That’s why Central California CALA is calling for greater disclosure, more public oversight and adoption of aggressive risk management procedures to protect our local government coffers from the greedy hands of personal injury lawyers.”
To that end, a handful of government officials throughout the area have taken note of the waste that frivolous lawsuits cause.
“We commend Sacramento City Attorney Eileen Teichert for her support of policies to reduce the effect that lawsuit abuse has on our city budget,” Rogers said.
The full report is available here.