Good week in Congress for those who welcome an increase in lawsuits over product liability and employment discrimination...
- The Senate last night voted 89-3 to adopt the conference report for H.R. 4040, the CPSC Reform Act. It now goes to the President. Bill signing ceremony in Beijing? Probably not.
- The House passed H.R. 1338, the Paycheck Fairness Act, by a vote to 247-178. No Democrats voted against the legislation, which the White House would veto were the bill to pass the Senate. The Republican opponents kept noting that employment discrimination on the basis of gender is already against the law; Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) said, "At the end of the day this bill will invite more lawyers to file more lawsuits because it offers them a bigger payday." Advocates used this talking point: "Women are paid on average 70 percent ...."
- The House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law, held a hearing yesterday on H.R. 5884, Sunshine in Litigation Act of 2008. This is the bill that would force disclosure of confidential or proprietary information in court proceedings and settlements. Testifying were Joseph F. Anderson, Jr., U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina; and Mark R. Kravitz, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The American Association for Justice issued a news release condemning business and "court secrecy" in product liability cases.