CJAC: Civil Justice Association of California

News Archive

Sep 26, 2016

Nuisance Lawsuits by Local Prosecutors: A Dangerous Game?

Recent lawsuits brought by local prosecutors using a public nuisance legal theory — the lead paint lawsuit, the opioid lawsuit and the Monsanto lawsuits — raise troubling questions of law and public policy. Local jurisdictions are using public nuisance legal theory as a kind of super-tort to avoid traditional product liability law. They apply new law to lawful conduct that took place decades ago, rely on revisionist history, and seek to hold companies liable for the failure of others to maintain products or to dispose of them properly. Making product manufacturers responsible for the entire life and afterlife of their products is bad law and bad for consumers, who ultimately have to pay the price.

Sep 13, 2016

Ruling effectively rolls out a welcome mat for out-of-state plaintiffs

Last month, the California Supreme Court, in Bristol-Myers Squibb Company v. Superior Court, 2016 DJDAR 8952 (Aug. 29, 2016), laid out the welcome mat for out of state plaintiffs to sue out of state companies in California. The court held, in a divided 4-3 opinion authored by the chief justice, that California jurisdiction for mass tort cases that involve out of state plaintiffs, out-of-state defendants, and out-of-state events, is valid because the defendant corporation advertised and sold its products within California and because California plaintiffs hold parallel claims.

Aug 26, 2016

Maybe an amusing case, but lawsuit is no laughing matter

In a victory for common-sense, a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit against Starbucks for having ice in its iced coffee and iced tea.

Jul 15, 2016

State Supreme Court has a chance to rein in PAGA Abuse

California has been a hot-bed for highly speculative employment litigation, which is threatening the very jobs the lawsuits say they are trying to protect. For many companies, when the cost of employment litigation abuse is subtracted from the bottom line, they may not be able to hire new workers, may be not set up shop here in the first place. The impact is being felt across the state’s economy, from retailers to manufacturers.

Jun 30, 2016

Ticketmaster and the need to reform class action litigation

By now you’ve probably heard about the Ticketmaster class action — maybe you’ve even searched for your name in the database to find out if you’re entitled to any recovery. You can check by logging into your Ticketmaster account.

Jun 14, 2016

Public nuisance lawsuits spiraling out of control

This past year, public nuisance lawsuits have spiraled out of control in California. Cities like San Diego, Berkeley, and Los Angeles have been convinced to sue U.S. companies for enormous sums. Trial lawyers, looking to win big, scour the state and the nation for potential plaintiffs and then recruit municipalities to partner with them to file suits against businesses.

May 16, 2016

Don’t eliminate limitations period for climate change statements

The California Senate is considering entirely eliminating the statute of limitations for lawsuits that government prosecutors bring against companies for statements relating to climate change science. The bill, Senate Bill 1161 is authored by Democratic Sen. Ben Allen of California Senate District 26 (a coastal district that covers from Pacific Palisades/Santa Monica to Palos Verdes).

May 12, 2016

Of course lawyers want to sue; but arbitration is good for customers and employees

Arbitration is a means of alternative dispute resolution, whereby parties agree to resolve their differences in front of an arbiter (often called a neutral) rather than by going through a lawsuit.

Apr 11, 2016

Asbestos bill would provide needed transparency

The California Legislature has an opportunity to make asbestos lawsuits fairer by passing Assembly Bill 2315. This bill would provide transparency in civil asbestos litigation. Asbestos-related diseases like cancer and mesothelioma take a long time to manifest, and people who develop them deserve fair compensation now and in the future. Our current system, however, may be overcompensating current victims at the expense of future victims. California lawmakers should word to protect assets for both current and future victims.

Aug 2, 2013

MICRA Initiative Will Raise Health Care Costs

Recently, a trial-lawyer backed campaign to weaken California's Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act followed through on its threat to file a ballot measure, desperately hoping California voters can be fooled into raising MICRA's limit on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases.

Jul 24, 2013

Trial Lawyer-Backed Ballot Initiative Submitted to Raise MICRA Cap

SACRAMENTO – A ballot initiative that would dramatically weaken California’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) was submitted for title and summary today with the California Attorney General’s office.

Jun 11, 2013

Statement from CJAC on Courts Budget

SACRAMENTO – Governor Jerry Brown and legislative leaders have reached an agreement on a state budget for 2013-14 that provides an additional $63 million for the state’s court system.

May 24, 2013

Viewpoint: As Economy Improves, Courts Should Get Fair Share

Advocates for California's court system whose hopes for increased funding have been rising in conjunction with the state's tax revenues were let down again when Governor Jerry Brown released his May revise budget proposal last week.

May 21, 2013

Governor Wise to Address Prop. 65’s Flaws

Governor Jerry Brown has shown a growing interest in reforming laws that are leading to abusive litigation in California.

May 7, 2013

CJAC Praises Governor Brown’s Effort to Reform Prop. 65

SACRAMENTO – Governor Jerry Brown proposed reforms to Proposition 65 today, an initiative approved in 1986 that requires businesses to warn the public of exposure to toxic substances and which the Brown Administration says “has been abused by some unscrupulous lawyers driven by profit rather than public health.”

May 2, 2013

Is 'Right to Know' really 'Right to Sue'?

Troy Wolverton's column ("Your privacy under attack on two fronts," Page 1D, April 29), does not give enough consideration to the litigation that would result from AB 1291.

Mar 27, 2013

Prop. 65 Reform Needed to End 'Absurdly Easy' Lawsuits

How many times per day do you think you see the warning that a product or facility “contains chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm”?

Mar 13, 2013

Lawsuit Abuse Victims, Legal Reform Advocates Announce Support For AB 227 to Stop Shakedown Prop. 65 Lawsuits

SACRAMENTO - The Civil Justice Association of California (CJAC), California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA), and victims of abusive Proposition 65 lawsuits convened at the State Capitol today to announce their support for AB 227, authored by Assemblymember Mike Gatto (D-Burbank).

Jan 29, 2013

Physicians Spend Nearly 11 Percent Of Their 40-Year Careers With An Open, Unresolved Malpractice Claim

A study published in Health Affairs found that the average physician spends 50.7 months—nearly 11 percent—of an assumed forty-year career with an unresolved, open malpractice claim.

Dec 21, 2012

Viewpoint: It's Time to Take California Back From the Plaintiffs Lawyers

Recently, California received the dubious distinction of being named the No. 1 "judicial hellhole" in America, just the latest of many reports released in recent years showing the state's legal system ranked at or near the bottom of the nation.

Dec 13, 2012

California Named Worst “Judicial Hellhole” in the Nation

SACRAMENTO – California was named the #1 “judicial hellhole” in America today by the American Tort Reform Foundation in its 11th annual Judicial Hellholes report.

Dec 13, 2012

California Replaces Reforming Philly atop "Judicial Hellholes" List

California was named the #1 “judicial hellhole” in America by the American Tort Reform Foundation in its 11th annual Judicial Hellholes report.

Oct 25, 2012

Warning: Voting for Proposition 37 May Result in Serious Financial Harm

The genetically engineered food labeling initiative on the November ballot – Proposition 37 – should give us all a case of déjà vu.

Sep 21, 2012

Governor Signs Legislation to Further Restrict Vexatious Litigants

SACRAMENTO – Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 2274 today, legislation sponsored by the Civil Justice Association of California (CJAC) that will strengthen California's “vexatious litigant” statute.

Sep 19, 2012

Governor Signs Disabled Access Litigation Reform Bill Into Law

SACRAMENTO – Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1186 today, legislation that seeks to restrict disabled access lawyers by prohibiting pre-lawsuit settlement demand letters, reducing statutory damages under certain circumstances, restricting “stacked” claims from plaintiffs who allege the same violation multiple times, and increasing funding for certified access specialists, among other changes.

Sep 19, 2012

Viewpoints: Will ADA litigation reform work? It's worth finding out

Going into 2012, a betting man would not have put great odds on the California Legislature passing a substantive bill this year aimed at reducing Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuits. In the last 10 years, 14 reform bills have been introduced and all failed passage.

Sep 12, 2012

Businesses need a functioning court system to thrive

There continues to be nothing but grim news when it comes to court funding in California. Over the past five years the judicial branch – which is supposed to be a co-equal branch of government - has seen a quarter of its budget slashed and is now receiving just over 2 percent of the state’s general fund.

Sep 1, 2012

Statement from CJAC on Passage of Disabled Access Litigation Reform

SACRAMENTO – The California State Legislature approved Senate Bill 1186 today, legislation that seeks to restrict disabled access lawyers by prohibiting pre-lawsuit settlement demand letters, reducing statutory damages under certain circumstances, restricting “stacked” claims from plaintiffs who allege the same violation multiple times, and increasing funding for certified access specialists, among other changes.

Jun 28, 2012

Fancy arguments won't avoid conflicts with Concepcion

Brian Kabateck and Scott Malzahn overlook the benefits of arbitration and ignore the inherent conflict between SB 491 and the U.S. Supreme Court’s Concepcion ruling in their op-ed “SB 491: Protecting Consumers’ Right to Join Together” (June 25, 2012). Arbitration is a fair, efficient, cost-effective method of resolving disputes.

Apr 16, 2012

Bounty Hunters and the Public Interest - A Study of California's Proposition 65

A report written by Chapman University Law Professor Anthony Caso examines the "bounty hunter" provision of California's Proposition 65, an initiative approved by voters in 1986.

Apr 12, 2012

Statement from CJAC President Kim Stone on Supreme Court’s Brinker Ruling

SACRAMENTO – Kim Stone, President of the Civil Justice Association of California, issued the following statement today in response to the California Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of Brinker Restaurant Corporation v. Superior Court, in which the Court held that employers must make meal and rest breaks available to their employees, but not ensure that their employees take such breaks...

Mar 30, 2012

Recent Legislation Will Only Clog Courts

Watching Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye give her State of the Judiciary speech on March 19, two things were clear: 1) The judicial branch is in capable hands under her leadership, and 2) what she doesn't need from the Legislature is to make her job even tougher than it already is.

Mar 5, 2012

AB 1208 Erodes or Reverses Gains in Court Unification

In response to Emily Green’s well done summary of the debate over Assembly Bill 1208 (“Courts bill would shift power but to whom?” – Feb 21st), the Civil Justice Association of California (CJAC) must emphasize a few points about this legislation.

Feb 14, 2012

Defensive Orthopedic Medicine Costs U.S. $2 billion Annually

A study conducted by Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers estimates that approximately $2 billion per year in unnecessary health care costs result from the practice of defensive medicine by U.S. orthopedic surgeons.

Dec 15, 2011

California Ranked Second in Latest "Judicial Hellholes" Report

California has maintained its #2 ranking in the latest “Judicial Hellholes” report, released today by the American Tort Reform Foundation. The state was ranked #2 in last year’s report as well, and has been included in one form or another every year since the rankings began in 2002.

Oct 31, 2011

Study: Legal Reform in California Could Create Hundreds of Thousands of Jobs

Californians could save $5.2 billion in tort costs and the state could create between 115,000 and 320,000 jobs by improving its legal environment, according to a new report released by NERA Economic Consulting.

Oct 27, 2011

Just Don’t Do it: Public Prosecutors Should Avoid Partnering with Plaintiffs’ Attorneys

Public prosecutors are entrusted with a unique and powerful responsibility. They are given the authority to protect the public interest while maintaining a neutral, impartial commitment to ensuring that justice be done. That is the motivating factor that drives their actions – that justice be done – whether that consists of large financial awards or not.

Oct 3, 2011

CJAC Calls for Reform as Lawsuit Abuse Awareness Week Begins

The Civil Justice Association of California (CJAC) is asking Californians to recognize the impact of excessive litigation in our state as Lawsuit Abuse Awareness Week begins today. CJAC is renewing its call for reforming California laws that make it easier for plaintiffs’ attorneys to sue and receive unjust fee awards at the expense of our state’s businesses and public agencies.

Sep 28, 2011

76% of Docs Provide Unneeded Care For Fear of Lawsuits

A new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine highlights one troubling cause of rising healthcare costs: doctors providing more medical care than is necessary because they fear malpractice lawsuits.

Aug 18, 2011

CJAC Commends Supreme Court's Ruling in Medical Damages Case

Today the California Supreme Court ruled in Howell v. Hamilton Meats that a plaintiff may only collect as damages the amount that actually had to be paid by insurers for medical treatment rather than the retail rate that medical providers charge for that treatment. In its opinion the Court stated that it is not appropriate to “expand the scope of economic damages to include expenses the plaintiff never incurred.” The case stems from an incident where a Hamilton Meat truck collided with the plaintiff as she was driving.

Aug 15, 2011

How to Deal With Unprecedented Court Budget Cuts

Over the past couple weeks there has been some dire news on the major delays Californians can expect to see in our courts as a result of the most recent budget cuts. The 2011-12 budget cuts $350 million from the court system, the largest in state court history.

Jul 11, 2011

Most Medical Malpractice Claims Abandoned Due to Weak Cases

A new study from Health Affairs finds that most medical malpractice claims are neither settled nor adjudicated, but abandoned by the plaintiffs. Out of 3,695 claims filed in Massachusetts, 59% were dropped, with the most important reason being that plaintiffs obtain more information during a lawsuit and conclude that a claim is weaker than they thought.

Jun 8, 2011

CJAC Applauds Legislative Proposal Addressing Disabled Access Lawsuit Abuse

The Civil Justice Association of California (CJAC) is strongly supporting legislation introduced this week by Senator Bob Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga) that would provide some relief for Californians from abusive disabled access lawsuits.

May 10, 2011

An Old Statute Needs an Update

One day about two years ago, Cary Cheldin answered his telephone at work to hear a litany of abuse from the other end. Cheldin owns his own insurance business and the man on the other end was an attorney demanding $13,000 for damage to a 1973 Chevy pick-up truck caused by one of Cheldin's customers.

May 5, 2011

Latest Survey of CEOs Finds California the Worst State to do Business in - Again

The Civil Justice Association of California (CJAC) is calling attention to the 2011 “Best/Worst States for Business” survey released this week by Chief Executive Magazine, in which 550 CEOs participated and found California to be the worst state in the nation for business for the seventh year in a row. CJAC President Kim Stone issued the following statement.

May 5, 2011

Legal reforms: Curb class actions, punitive damages, junk asbestos suits

The difficult times for California continue. We’ve all heard the stats – 12 percent unemployment, 4.7 businesses leaving California per week (up from 3.9 per week last year), and a $25 billion budget deficit. We’ve been hearing these types of stats like a broken record for three years now.

Apr 4, 2011

New Study Shows Nursing Homes Being Sued Regardless of Quality

The New England Journal of Medicine finds in a new study that high-quality nursing homes are sued almost as often as low-quality nursing homes, showing that litigation, or the threat of litigation, doesn’t lead to better patient care.

Mar 8, 2011

CJAC Praises New Report by Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse on Job Losses

The Civil Justice Association of California (CJAC) praised a new report released today by the California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse titled “At Every Turn…California Chooses Bad Lawsuits Instead of Good Jobs.” The report details how a number of California laws relating to class actions, workplace and environmental regulations, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) have cost people their jobs, prevented businesses from growing, and delayed major projects indefinitely that had many jobs attached to them.

Mar 2, 2011

CJAC Asks State Supreme Court to Consider More Limited Rulings in Aftermath of ZIP Code Request Case

Kim Stone, President of the Civil Justice Association of California (CJAC), released the following statement today encouraging the State Supreme Court to consider making certain rulings prospective only and to allow a brief period of time for parties to implement the Court’s ruling. This comes in response to the 76 lawsuits, according to public filings, that had been filed against a variety of businesses as of yesterday in the aftermath of the Court’s February 10th ruling in Pineda v. Williams-Sonoma, Inc., which stated that merchants cannot request customers’ ZIP codes during transactions.

Feb 18, 2011

CJAC Announces Legislation to Limit "Vexatious Litigants"

The Civil Justice Association of California (CJAC) announced the introduction of Senate Bill 603 today, legislation that would help limit unwarranted legal filings that clog the courts and needlessly cost defendants large sums of money. Senator Tom Berryhill, R-Modesto, is the author of the bill, which is sponsored by CJAC.

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