Thursday, March 26, 2009

Three Card Monte's Gift to HabushHabushHabush et al

Why do I pick on HabushHabushHabush....? Their cheesy synthesized "music" in their commercials.

But there's another reason. Habush and his ilk are the beneficiaries of a Three Card Monte Doyle gift in the budget. It should come as no surprise that this gift is also a perversion of justice AND will make Wisconsin a much-less-desirable State in which to do business.

In brief, expenses will rise, and only the PI lawyers will benefit--plus a few leaky clients of those PI's.

Probably the most significant danger this provision poses to businesses is how it allows for a wide net to be cast when suing businesses. So long as the plaintiff is arguably 50% or less at fault, companies can be sued if their fault is negligible, even if substantially less than the plaintiff‟s. It is another version of the joint and several extortion game: "Sue 'em first, discuss settlement later."

Not only is Doylie's proposal a sure-fire way to make running a business more expensive and risky--it rescinds 13-year-old legislation which was eminently reasonable.

The joint and several liability change in the budget repeals the reforms passed in 1995, which matched liability more closely to fault and fairness. We moved from a "one percent–pay all" system to one requiring at least 51 % at fault before being liable for 100% of the damages. Notably, the 1995 legislation (SB 11/Act 17) had public hearings and the full deliberation of elected officials. These reforms passed by wide margins, with bi-partisan support (24-8 in the Senate and 69-27 in the Assembly).

The Governor’s budget not only abolishes Wisconsin’s bipartisan reforms, it sets forth a system even more radical than existed prior to 1995. Never before have we required someone to pay damages to another who is more at fault. Never before have we required the jury be told how their fault allocations affect awards. And never again should we require someone with as little as one percent fault to pay for 100 percent of damages

...1% at fault, pay 100% of the greedy trial lawyers' wants...

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