The U.S. Chamber's Institute for Legal Reform has released results of a survey of 1,000 small business owners (conducted by the respected bipartisan team of Bill McInturff and Doug Schoen). Litigation is a concern. Highlights:
- One in three (35 percent) of all small businesses have been sued or threatened with a lawsuit.
- Sixty four percent say that lawsuits have been on the rise, and 68 percent believe that the number of lawsuits against companies will continue to increase over the next five years.
- If targeted in a lawsuit: 74 percent of small business owners say companies such as theirs would very likely have to pass those costs on to their customers; 68 percent say they would very likely have to reduce existing employees' benefits; and 71 percent say they would very likely have to hold back on hiring new employees.
Meanwhile, "trial lawyer" remains a potent accusation in campaigns around the country. More from the political world:
- The Hill (blog), Sept. 22, "Sen. Vitter ad: Melancon huddling with 'trial lawyers'," attacking the Democratic candidate, Rep. Charlie Melancon, for fundraising at the American Association for Justice's annual meeting in Vancouver, B.C.
- Dallas Morning News, Sept. 20, "Trial lawyers heavily supporting White for governor," reporting, "AUSTIN - For the first time in more than a decade, trial lawyers - a key source of campaign cash for Democrats - are betting big on the party's candidate for governor. Plaintiffs attorneys gave more than $1.9 million through June, the most recent figures available, to Democrat Bill White's campaign."
- Texas Tribune, Sept. 15, "Perry Says the State Needs More Tort Reform": "More is needed to restrain frivolous lawsuits and personal injury lawyers," said the governor, who was in Houston to accept the endorsement of lobbying heavyweight Texans for Lawsuit Reform.
- NRSC campaign news release, "National Republican Senatorial Committe: Why is Conlin standing with the Obama-Reid economic agenda?" issued in support of Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley: "WASHINGTON - With national unemployment hovering near 10 percent, a growing number of Democrats are abandoning embattled liberal trial lawyer Roxanne Conlin (D-IA) and their Washington leaders as the Obama Administration prepares to allow for the largest job-killing tax increase in American history."
- WSPA Channel 7, South Carolina, on gubernatorial race between Republican Nikki Haley and Democrat Vincent Sheheen, "Watch: Fact-Checking Sheheen, Haley's Campaign Ads": "Haley's ad says, 'He's a trial lawyer who's against stopping runaway lawsuits that destroy jobs.' It is true that Sheheen is a trial lawyer. But he did vote to stop 'runaway lawsuits that destroy jobs.' The Senate Journal from March 8, 2005 shows that Sheheen voted in favor of a tort reform bill."
Back in Washington, the Senate Judiciary Committee prepares to vote on the nominations of re-nominated federal judicial candidates, including John "Jack" McConnell of Rhode Island. From The Providence Journal, "GOP renews opposition to McConnell approval":
"Harry Reid can bring these names up any time he wishes, but I don't think he will," Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama said Tuesday, referring to the Nevada Democrat who is Senate majority leader. Sessions suggested that Democrats will have reason to worry if "the American people hear of the backgrounds" of McConnell and four other liberal judicial candidates whose nominations were sent back to the White House last month.