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Trial lawyers lobbying heavily to block federal medical liability reform



The American Association for Justice has filed its first quarter lobbying disclosure form with the Clerk of the House, reporting $850,000 in lobbying expenses for the period, down from the $910,000 reported in the fourth quarter of 2010. The report filed with the House Clerk's Office indicates continued lobbying on familiar issues, such as:

  • Notice pleadings in federal courts (Iqbal/Twombly)
  • Preemption of state causes-of-action involving drug manufacturers
  • Various bills to restrict pre-dispute arbitration provisions in contracts.
  • S. 623/H.R. 592 (Sunshine in Litigation Act of 2011); relating to the use of protective orders, sealing of cases, and disclosure of discovery information in federal civil cases. (See earlier POL post.)

In light of the new Republican control of the U.S. House, the trial lawyers are also lobbying some new issues and pieces of legislation. These jumped out at us:

  • H.R. 966/S. 533 (Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2011); to amend Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to make sanctions mandatory.
  • S. 299/ H.R. 10 (Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2011); to provide that major rules of the executive branch shall have no force or effect unless a joint resolution of approval is enacted into law.
  • H.R. 1 (Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act); specific interest in House Amdt. 85 to defund the Equal Access to Justice program, and House Amdt.159 to defund the the Consumer Product Safety Commission Product Safety Database.
  • H.R. 887(no short title); to direct the Secretary of the Interior to submit a report on Indian land fractionation, and for other purposes, specific interest in the modification of attorney's fees. (This is a post-Cobell piece of legislation from Rep. Don Young (R-AK).

The GOP House has also elicited an increased level of lobbying against federal medical liability reform, specifically, H.R. 5, the Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act and malpractice reforms generally. The AAJ continues to go outside its own lobbying shop to pay Patton Boggs to work the health care issue, among others, to the tune of $130,000 for the quarter, as well as Forscey and Stinson, $50,000.

The AAJ has also added another lobbying firm to handle medical liability and health care issues, Van Heuvelen Strategies, LLC. Bob Van Heuvelen is the former chief of staff to Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), who is not seeking reelection in 2012.

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Isaac Gorodetski
Project Manager,
Center for Legal Policy at the
Manhattan Institute
igorodetski@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Press Officer,
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.