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No surprise: Trial lawyer lobbying forms show health care focus

The American Association for Justice has filed its fourth quarter 2009 congressional lobbying disclosure form (here, reporting $1.33 million in expenditures. That's up from $1.06 million in the third quarter, an increase probably related to lobbying on the health care legislation.

The filing provides more evidence that the trial lawyers helped craft language establishing state demonstration projects, preventing serious reform. Under the HCR (health care) category, AAJ lists its activities: "Lobbying with regard to the establishment of state-based pilot projects concerning medical liability." Under TOR (torts): "H.R. 3950 (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act); specific interest in provisions relating to state-based demonstration projects relating to medical liability; and specific interest in proposed amendments relating to medical liability tort reform, including: Ensign amendment #2927 (offered and tabled by vote), and 17 amendments that were filed but not offered."

For the first time in 2009, AAJ's disclosure form reports the association's involvement with homeland security issues (HOM), specifically House chemical facilities security legislation. Five AAJ lobbyists worked the issue, seeking to preserve "citizen suits" and prevent federal preemption of state laws and regulations. The references in AAJ's disclosure form:

  • H.R. 2868(Chemical and Water Security Act of 2009); specific interest in amendments relating to citizen suits and federal preemption of security regulations at chemical facilities.
  • Stearns amendment, not agreed to; to restrict states from implementing security regulations at chemical facilities that are more stringent than those outlined by the federal government.
  • Upton amendment, not agreed to; to prohibit citizen civil lawsuits against the Department of Homeland Security.

The House passed the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act in early November. For more on the "citizen lawsuit" provisions, see this Point of Law post.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.