CJAC: Civil Justice Association of California

Wacky Warning Labels

Posted on 07/15/2015 @ 10:00 AM

A warning label on a ceiling-mounted smoke alarm says: “Silence feature is intended to temporarily silence the horn while you identify and correct the problem. It will not extinguish a fire.”

Another on a one-inch-tall water-absorbent grow toy that looks like the Easter Bunny reads, “This toy is in no way intended to represent living people. Any resemblance is purely coincidental and not intended to harm anyone.”

A four-inch-long brass fishing lure with sharp hooks dangling off the end warns: “Harmful if swallowed.”

These are some of the winners of the Wacky Warning Labels Contest.

“Countless products are plastered with common-sense warning labels today because lawyers have advised product makers that if they don’t provide the warnings, they could be sued,” said Bob Dorigo Jones, in a recent article in the Washington Times. Jones is a senior fellow at the Center for America and creator of the annual Wacky Warning Labels Contest, and the author of “Remove Child Before Folding: The 101 Stupidest, Silliest and Wackiest Warning Labels Ever” (Grand Central Publishing, 2007).

These wacky warning labels, which by the way aren’t found in other countries, said Jones, “should themselves be a warning that it’s time for us to change old lawsuit habits that haven’t served us well. Judges and lawmakers need to tell plaintiff lawyers that personal responsibility and common sense still have a place in America’s courts. When that happens, we won’t need labels like the one found this year on a bag of frozen catfish pieces that warns: ‘Contains fish.’”

To read the article, click here.

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Sacramento Bee Op-Ed: Builders want to fix defects before lawsuits

Posted on 07/14/2015 @ 10:00 AM

In a recent Op-Ed to the Sacramento Bee, Dave Cogdill, CEO of the California Building Industry Association, shared his thoughts on Senator Jerry Hill’s Senate Bill 465.

Among the provisions, SB 465 would require licensed contractors to report to the Contractors State License Board within 90 days a conviction or infraction, including any felony; or any other crime substantially related to the qualifications, functions, and duties of a licensed contractor; or has been subject to a civil action settlement or binding arbitration award above a certain amount.

“As drafted, however,” said Cogdill, “this measure … will not give regulators the information to actually identify and weed out bad actors. More importantly, it misses the opportunity to pass a policy that prioritizes the speed of construction defect repairs.”

Although Codgill finds Sen. Hill’s intentions admirable, “this bill won’t achieve his aims” he said.

Cogdill urged Senator Hill “to join the building industry in supporting legislation that increases transparency so that home and building owners are aware of previous defects, and that ensures builders have a right to be notified of a defect and the opportunity to inspect and make the necessary repairs before litigation.”

Since the publication of this Op-Ed, SB 465 failed to pass out of the Assembly Business and Professions Committee.

To read the Op-Ed, click here.

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KQED Forum: Americans With Disabilities Act Turns 25

Posted on 06/30/2015 @ 10:00 AM

CJAC President Kim Stone earlier today participated in KQED’s Forum radio show regarding the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the world's first comprehensive law guaranteeing equal rights to individuals with disabilities.

Although the enactment of the law has benefited the disabled community greatly, state laws have made it easier for plaintiffs to sue businesses over access violations and to collect damages, and that, Kim notes, “has sadly led to waves of extortionist lawsuits over the Americans with Disabilities Act and little increase in compliance.”

Kim stresses in her interview that the best way for small businesses to avoid these lawsuits is to “hire a Certified Access Specialist, get their business checked out, find out if they’re compliant or not and, if not, make the accommodations to become compliant.” Many small businesses don’t know that the responsibility rests on their shoulders.

To listen to a recording of the show, click here.

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Op-Ed: Science, not politics, should drive California regs on BPA

Posted on 06/24/2015 @ 10:00 AM

In an op-ed featured in the Sacramento Bee, Phil Goldberg, senior fellow with the Progressive Policy Institute and partner at Shook, Hardy & Bacon, cautions that “as technology advancements continue to push against political and moral boundaries, we need agencies to govern based on science, not politics.”

To read the full op-ed, click here.

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Washington Post: Banning Obesity Lawsuits has Surprising Consequences

Posted on 06/02/2015 @ 10:00 AM

So far, 26 states have enacted “commonsense consumption” laws, which prohibit people from suing food purveyors for making them fat, giving them diabetes, or adding to their high blood pressure.

In a recent study, economists at Vanderbilt discovered an unintended consequence of these so-called “cheeseburger laws.” In states that took away the right to file obesity lawsuits, overweight residents were motivated to lose weight and eat healthier. Strange results, indeed.

A recent Washington Post article takes an in-depth look at the mystery. To read the article, click here.

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