Thursday, April 20, 2006

Does AVALA Again "Confuse" Comp and Tort Law?

The Montgomery Advertiser, in their April 20, 2006, edition printed a "Letter to the Editor" titled "Lawsuits scare away business prospects". The letter was from Alabama Voters Against Lawsuit Abuse Board Member Kerry Kelly. I'll come back on a day when I have time and destroy their arguments with FACTS but for now I'll tell a story from "back in the day".

Perhaps eight or ten years ago, even back before the 1999 reforms when Alabama had been painted as "Tort Hell", a local car dealer brought an AVALA speaker to a civic club in which I was involved. The man gave his apparently canned talk referencing how businesses are not coming to Alabama due to our out of control juries and trial lawyers and ... He actually said something like "If these factories think their workers are going to sue them every time they get nicked up and a jury is going to write them a huge check and then they also have to be worried about punitive damages and contingency fees of up to 50% where the jury knows this and that and ... then they aren't about to bring a business to Alabama."

I was of course practicing law, seldom if ever doing "tort" cases, and maybe I was out of uniform or perhaps this "suit and a speech" clown had not been told the Roanoke Lions Club had been infiltrated. I asked him something where he repeated what he said. And then again got him to clarify about fears of workers suing their employers and the punitives and fees and a..." Total certainty on what he was shilling to these suckers.

When I simply reminded him that workers compensation laws applied to employee injuries and that no jury was involved and the judge simply applied the law to what the evidence seemed to suggest and that fees were capped at 15% you could see the fear in his eyes. I immediately challenged him to explain why he was LYING to this audience. Then I asked him if LIED every time he came to talk to an audience such as ours. Game, set, and match. He literally refused to talk to me after the meeting. I just wish I had a tape and I could show the rest of Alabama how this lying and sneaky and nasty AVALA works. One of these days I'll try to track the money. I bet it goes all the way to BCA and AMA and US Chamber and ...

I'm sure I'll get a chance to write again on "tort reform" as President Bu$h is shilling "junk lawsuits" and "defensive medicine". Let the lies begin. Peace ... or War.