On Sunday November 20, 2012 an Op-Ed appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer authored by a person affiliated with triallawyers.inc. This sham organization of the Manhattan Institute, a corporate funded group, called for changes to the legal system even though many changes have been instituted. Many people believe that businesses basically want immunity from people being able to sue for injuries and the calls for reform will continue even if not supported by valid data. What do you think? Below is the response of the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers (PAJ) President and Schmidt Kramer Partner Scott Cooper to the Op-Ed.
Re: Response to "Philadelphia still in need of tort reform.", Nov. 18, 2012
Dear Inquirer Editorial Board:
James R. Copland's Sunday op-ed contained tired and disproven claims.
It's worth noting at the start that the so-called tort reform movement never seeks to limit the ability of businesses to sue each other or an individual, just an individual's right to sue them.
The business and insurance industries target Philadelphia's Complex Litigation Center because it's one of the few courts that have the experience and capacity to handle large, difficult cases. In fact, the CLC has repeatedly won national plaudits for its work.
The tort reform movement disserves the public by attacking one of the most fundamental tenets of our republic: that anyone, regardless of their income - rich or poor -- can seek justice through the courts. The tort reform movement would cause people to lose access to our legal system.
Consider one of the too many recalls of dangerous medications. The high cost of the case effectively prevents an individual from holding defective drug makers responsible for the harm they cause. That's why mass tort cases are so important. The speed of the CLC Mr. Copeland laments is something that makes cases fairer. What is unfair is when an insurance company drags a case out for years while someone injured is unable to work or pay their bills.
The courts help hold those who cause harm responsible - just as they are designed to do - and Philadelphia's CLC does it as well as any other court in the country.
Very truly yours,
Scott B. Cooper, Esq.
President, Pennsylvania Association for Justice
firstname.lastname@example.org | (717) 232-6300
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