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December 22, 2004


Prop 64: "Let's not buy a landslide"

Last month California voters dealt trial lawyers a stunning defeat by passing Proposition 64 by a 59-41 margin. How'd that happen? Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's support for the measure and the favorable stance of many large newspapers undoubtedly helped a lot. But sheer complacency on the part of the measure's opponents also seems to have played a role, to judge by a Nov. 3 Recorder article, "Prop 64 Took Plaintiff Bar by Surprise" (subscriber-only):

"Our attitude was 'Let's not buy a landslide,'" said Bruce Brusavich, former president of the Consumer Attorneys of California. "The thing was doing poorly by everyone's polling -- 41 percent was the strongest we ever got on our own polling. Then, about five days ago, we got concerned. It was trending the wrong way." By then, major media buys were basically sold out, said Brusavich.

According to the same article, it might be premature to assume that the election results have eroded the strong position of the trial-lawyer lobby, Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC), in the state legislature in Sacramento. Sen. Joe Dunn (see Overlawyered, Jul. 22) has been named Senate Judiciary chair. On the Assembly side, the CAOC ranks are gaining reinforcements:

Those newcomers include Assembly Democrats Noreen Evans, a Santa Rosa City Councilwoman, and Thomas Umberg, a former assemblyman from Orange County. Both are attorneys funded by CAOC and both have been rumored as possible candidates for the Assembly Judiciary Committee chair.
Posted by Walter Olson at 12:44 AM | TrackBack (0)



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Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.