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Astroturf in the liability wars

While the example cited by Jonathan a while back may not properly count as astroturf, there's plenty of it around on liability-reform issues, planted by both sides; it's especially amusing when the trial bar complains about the practice, since they were way out in front in developing it. An example from The Rule of Lawyers:

In his book on a Connecticut medical malpractice lawsuit, Damages, author Barry Werth notes that prominent trial lawyer Michael Koskoff, along with a partner, "provided [Mary] Gay with a platform by recruiting her to head the Victims' Rights Association," whose agenda included doubling the number of judges so as to make it easier for lawsuits to get to trial. The group "exist[ed] largely on paper" and, in fact, was created by the state trial lawyers group. "Gay was a 'figurehead', she says, Koskoff having assured her there was no real work or responsibility involved."

And here's a letter to the editor published in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review May 3 from orthopedic surgeon Gregg L. Goldstrohm of Greensburg:

I read with interest the April 22 letter to the editor by Dan Fee of Philadelphia, who questioned a previous letter-writer who cited statistics from the state Board of Medicine to show that thousands of frivolous lawsuits are being filed against doctors ("More statistical malfeasance?").

Most especially I was interested in the notation that identified Mr. Fee: "The writer is executive director of Pennsylvania Citizens for Fairness, a coalition of patient safety and patient rights groups."

According to the Pennsylvania Department of State Web site, "Pennsylvania Citizens for Fairness" is a "fictitious name." The "fictitious owners" are the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association....

Then there's Pennsylvania's Committee for Justice for All, the Alliance for Consumer Rights in New York, and the Utah Citizens Alliance, among many others. For the scoop on several of those, consult Donna Rovito's newsletter, where we found the above letter.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.