With few exceptions, like Stephanie Mencimer’s piece in the Washington Monthly a few years ago, the media have a terrible tendency to spit back talking points provided to them by corporate groups and to talk about so-called “tort reform” like the whole thing is just a money battle between lobbyists – instead of dealing with the constitutional rights that are at stake or the impact on average people of weakening this system, not to mention our health and safety as a nation.
The New York Times sometimes stood apart from this and actually used to challenge industry groups that orchestrated this so-called “tort reform” movement to serve their rich and powerful corporate members, many of whom have been found liable for egregious misconduct. (See here or here)
But no more.
Yesterday the Times ran a lengthy article entitled, "To the Trenches - The Tort War Is Raging On," citing without comment brazenly-biased and bogus corporate surveys and insurance industry consultant “reports” that have been widely trashed (for instance here, here and here), and making it seem like the only people affected by laws that take away rights of injured consumers are the attorneys who represent them, or to the extent attorneys are affected, the only thing they care about are their fees. What an outrage.
Here's what goes on in the life of most trial lawyers: A legitimately
injured person walks into their office. The attorney looks into it and
makes an offer to an insurance company, usually forced to leave a
message on voice mail. What happens? Nothing. No one even calls
back. Welcome to the world of most trial lawyers. That’s why they are
forced to file most cases, as insurance companies drag out these cases
to egregious lengths. Where is that scenario described?
(It should be noted that the Center for Justice & Democracy twice asked to speak to this Times reporter and was blown off, receiving not so much as a courteous “no thanks” to two emails. That’s a first.)
From the story:
In a Washington ballroom bedecked with flags honoring explorers who overcame oceans and mountains to pursue international trade, Thomas J. Donohue congratulated the assembled modern merchants — a group of executives, lobbyists and lawyers — for challenging a more mundane adversary.
"It took guts, bravery and vision to get behind what must have seemed like an insurmountable task — taking on the powerful trial bar," said Mr. Donohue, the chief executive of the United States Chamber of Commerce. "We have succeeded beyond our expectations."
Yes "a group of executives, lobbyists and lawyers" sitting around
congratulating themselves for limiting the rights of
catastrophically-injured children truly does take "guts" and "bravery."
The story goes on to paint a picture of uncertainty as to who the winners and losers are in the tort war, once again leaving average consumers out of it.
Hello, where are the normal everyday people in all of this? We're over