CJAC: Civil Justice Association of California

CJAC Urges Greater Funding for Courts

Posted on 01/14/2014 @ 08:00 AM

Tags: Courts

Today the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, Tani Cantil-Sakauye, unveiled a three-year blueprint outlining how to restore adequate funding to California’s state courts.

CJAC President Kim Stone joined the Chief Justice at the Press Conference, along with legislative leaders and other court advocates.

Kim Stone said “Businesses in California need a fully functioning, appropriately funded judicial system. Court delays can turn a one year case into a three-year case, with greatly increased costs for both sides. CJAC applauds the $100M increase in judicial branch funding in the 2014 Governor’s proposed budget, but believes that the courts need and deserve more.”

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California Named Worst “Judicial Hellhole” in the Nation for Second Year Running

Posted on 12/17/2013 @ 08:00 AM

Tags: Legal Climate

California once again was named the #1 “judicial hellhole” in America by the American Tort Reform Foundation in its 12th annual Judicial Hellholes report. California has been included in the report every year in some form since it was first issued in 2002; last year taking the #1 spot for the first time.

This year’s report focuses on how California’s infamous “food court” in the Northern District of California attracts consumer class action lawsuits against all kinds of food makers. The report also highlights the ongoing problems with exploitative disabled access lawsuits.

Sadly, this report is not surprising. California is viewed as having the least fair judicial system in the entire country. Lawyers sue over minor technicalities, or sue the yogurt company on behalf of everyone who ever bought yogurt when 99.9% of the consumers were happy with their yogurt! Meritless cases like these clog our courts and keep the truly injured from getting their day in court.

I encourage you to take a look at the report, which can be found here.

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CJAC Op-ed: MICRA Initiative Will Raise Health Care Costs

Posted on 08/05/2013 @ 11:00 AM

Tags: Medical Liability/MICRA

An op-ed from CJAC President Kim Stone was printed in The Recorder today explaining the dangers of the trial lawyer-sponsored initiative to raise California's limit on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases.

She writes, "There have been and will continue to be many heartbreaking stories you will hear about medical errors. But remember when you hear them that there is no appropriate price you can put on a tragedy, that making lawsuits more expensive will not improve the quality of care that anyone receives, and that the higher costs that would result will put more people in danger because there will be less access to doctors."

You can read the entire op-ed here.

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New Prop 65 Warning Regs Under Consideration - Public Workshop on 7/30

Posted on 07/25/2013 @ 08:00 PM

Tags: Proposition 65

The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) will be holding a public workshop on Tuesday, July 30th to gather input on a regulation that would address Proposition 65 warnings.

OEHHA is considering a rulemaking that would provide for more detailed warnings concerning exposures to substances labeled as toxic under Prop. 65. More specific warnings are also a component of Governor Jerry Brown's Prop. 65 reform proposal, but yesterday's announcement indicates that OEHHA may move forward with a regulation independent of what happens with the Governor's effort to reform Prop. 65 through legislation.

We urge you to weigh in with OEHHA if this issue affects you. Please consider sending a representative to the July 30th workshop, which will take place at:

Cal/EPA Headquarters Building, Coastal Hearing Room
1001 I Street, Sacramento, CA
10:00am to 3:30pm

The workshop will also be webcast (not active until the day and time of the meeting) at: http://calepa.ca.gov/Broadcast/.

Please note that the July 30th hearing is a pre-regulatory workshop and if OEHHA decides to formally propose a Proposition 65 warning regulation there will be additional opportunities for public input.

We recommend you look at the OEHHA announcement, which can be found here, as well as their examples of the proposed new warnings here.

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Voice Your Opposition to Trial Lawyers' MICRA Changes

Posted on 07/22/2013 @ 08:00 PM

Tags: Medical Liability/MICRA

Trial lawyers continue to wage an aggressive campaign to change California’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) (see our previous post here). We urge you to contact your state representatives and explain the devastating impact this would have on California's healthcare system!

Below is a sample constituent letter that can also be used as talking points. You can find your legislators' contact information here. Please call us at 916-443-4900 if you have any questions.

Dear (legislator's name),

Recently there have been renewed efforts to alter California's Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA), which sets parameters for compensation in medical malpractice cases. Trial lawyers and their allies are calling for a legislative change to quadruple MICRA's limit on non-economic damages to $1 million or eliminate it altogether.

I urge you to oppose this change to MICRA.

Under MICRA, patients are entitled to unlimited economic damages for any and all past and future medical costs, lost wages, and lifetime earning potential. They are also entitled to unlimited punitive damages. Additionally, patients can receive up to $250,000 for non-economic damages.

Trial lawyers are targeting the limit on non-economic damages so that the payouts in lawsuits will be higher, making it easier for them to earn more in legal fees and creating greater incentives for filing meritless lawsuits.

Raising or eliminating the limit on non-economic damages will hurt doctors, hospitals, community clinics and other providers by increasing medical liability costs. One recent study shows that increasing the amount of non-economic damages allowed under MICRA just from $250,000 to $500,000 would raise healthcare costs in California by at least $9.5 billion annually.

Increased liability costs will limit the state’s ability to accommodate new patients and will make it harder to attract doctors when there is already a shortage of medical providers.

We need to stay focused on lowering health care costs and expanding access to all Californians, not on policy changes that would make lawyers richer at the expense of everyone else. The trial lawyer-sponsored changes are opposed by more than 700 healthcare and other organizations because of the negative impact they would have.

MICRA is good public policy because it fairly compensates patients while lowering health care costs and improving patient access to care. Please reject the trial-lawyer sponsored changes to MICRA and protect California's healthcare system.


(Your name)

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