CJAC: Civil Justice Association of California

Op-Eds

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.

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.

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”?

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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