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Trial lawyers' Weisbrod absolves Obama of any tort reform sins



How timely. In an interview published today by the Corporate Crime Reporter -- a cranky but diligent trade publication -- the American Association for Justice's Les Weisbrod says, in effect, don't worry about a President Obama being a tort reformer. All that rhetoric? He didn't really mean it.

The interviewer notes Senator Obama's occasional references to his support of the Class Action Fairness Act (for example) and asks Weisbrod if Obama wasn't using the trial lawyers as whipping boys. Weisbrod:

No. Senator Obama chose his words very carefully. He said he voted for a class action bill and that the trial lawyers were unhappy about that. And that's true. What he didn't say was that as a result of that, and as a result of having dialogue over the issue, studying the issue more, that he doesn't support any additional broad based tort reform measures. If you look at his written positions and statements on his web site and campaign, he doesn't have anything near what we have seen. And in fact, his position with regard to medical malpractice is a good example. As opposed to embracing caps on medical malpractice, his position is that the way to reduce malpractice premiums for physicians is to subject medical malpractice insurance carriers to antitrust regulation.

Sure looks like somebody from the campaign was telling the trial lawyers, "Hey, don't sweat it. You know who loves you."

As Ted Frank wrote back in December, 2006, "So Obama may have annoyed the lunatic left with his vote for CAFA. As a reform supporter, I'm far from convinced that this makes him someone willing to cross the plaintiffs' bar."

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy
rmangual@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.