CJAC: Civil Justice Association of California

Aug 14, 2006

Civil Justice Association of California Opposes Proposition 89

Measure Threatens to Silence Legal Reform Movement in State

John H. Sullivan, president of the Civil Justice Association of California (CJAC), today issued the following statement announcing opposition to Proposition 89, an initiative on the November 2006 election ballot:

“Proposition 89 poses the gravest threat to sensible civil justice reform in recent memory. It comes at a time when Californians have been making great strides to restore balance to our legal system—a system that has for far too long been rife with frivolous lawsuits and abuse.

“If Proposition 89 passes, civil justice reform advocates, including businesses of all sizes, will effectively be precluded from participating in the political process in California. Contributions by businesses—from mom and pops to corporations—to initiative campaigns would be severely limited. And this measure completely eliminates contributions to independent expenditure committees and political parties.

“However, wealthy personal injury and other plaintiffs’ lawyers would be able to run their big money political agenda virtually without restraint. The imbalance would be disastrous to consumers, taxpayers, all businesses, and the state’s economy.

“Had Proposition 89 been law, many of our past successes to limit frivolous lawsuits would not have been possible. For example:

  • The passage of Proposition 64 in 2004: This important reform stopped shakedown lawsuit abuses against businesses of all sizes.
  • The defeat of Propositions 30 and 31 in 2000: These two trial lawyer-sponsored measures would have opened the door for frivolous lawsuits in insurance claims, driving up the prices consumers pay.
  • The defeat of Proposition 211 in 1996: Trial lawyer Bill Lerach’s unsuccessful scheme, Proposition 211, would have made high-tech companies vulnerable to multi-million dollar securities class-action lawsuits each time their stock prices declined.

“We are confident once Californians understand how this initiative is a gift to the personal injury lawyers they will oppose Proposition 89.”

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