19 February 2005

Does The New Class Action Regs Go Far Enough?

President Bush signed into law the new Class Action regulations passed by Congress. But my question is, does it go far enough? My opinion is no. Not only are Class Action suits damaging to business, all frivolous lawsuits are. The Video Game case in Alabama for example. Lawsuits do little to ease the actual suffering for those who win. Sure, the monetary awards can ease any financial damage caused by the injury. But so many suits shouldn't even make it to the filing stage. These are suits over the most elementary of injuries. And it all has a damaging effect on business and our economy.
Medical Malpractice suits have driven up costs for doctors. The prices of Malpractice Insurance have risen because people are lawsuit crazy. These Insurance increases have a direct effect on the fees that a doctor must charge to cover his rising costs. Which in turn, drives up Medical Insurance premiums and out of pocket expenses. This in many cases does nothing to punish the doctor himself, but it does contribute to the rising costs of health care that we all must pay.
We have a prescription drug crisis in this country. The limited time frame that a drug company has to recover development costs along with liability insurance has put some of the most needed drugs out of the financial reach of those who need them the most. It should be understood that the long term effects of a new drug can't be realized until the new drug has been in use for a while. But just as soon as a few people start having problems with a new drug, trial lawyers are all over the situation. They start putting together a class to file on the behalf of. These lawyers do not have the best interests of their new clients in mind. No, they are looking at the big payday once they force the company to settle. And what happens to the class-members? Nothing. In most cases they don't recover enough money to buy the drug they sued over. Cases of class members receiving coupons as a settlement exist. The only winners are the lawyers. And the losers? All the rest of us. Those who really need that drug and can't afford it get hurt. Those who invest in the drug companies get hurt. Those 401k contributors, mutual fund investors, and stock holders get hurt. People who's retirement investments are in pharmaceuticals suffer with losses. And in turn the American economy gets hurt. Which includes everyone else in the country who don't feel a direct impact from the suit.
So, what's the solution? I have a few ideas, but I'll save them for another time. But I will urge anyone who reads this to contact your Congressman and Senators and insist that they get involved in true Tort Reform. Because if this continues, the price of bubble gum will only be affordable for those in the top 1%.
Wictory Wednesday asks that you help pass the Social Security Reform package. This week you can help by signing the online petition. http://www.preservingsocialsecurity.com http://www.blogsforbush.com/

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