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Joe Nocera nails it

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In today's New York Times:

Yes, there are certainly times when the court system provides the appropriate forum to address corporate wrongdoing. But just as often -- more often, in my view -- plaintiffs' lawyers gin up cases because, well, that's what they do. Like the corporations they sue, big-time plaintiffs' lawyers have a business model. Theirs requires them to constantly seek out cases that can be blown up into giant mass torts, as they're called, which can then be used to extract billions from companies.

I've seen mass torts where the actual plaintiffs get coupons while the lawyers reap millions. Mass torts where the connection between the product and the harm is illusory. Mass torts built on fraud (silicosis). Complex litigation settled for billions even when the government implies that consumers are responsible (Toyota sudden acceleration). I've also seen cases where some victims hit the jackpot with a giant jury verdict and other victims come up empty. Or where a corporation really has done harm but pays off the lawyers instead of the victims. Over the years, I've thought: There's got to be a better way.

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

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

 

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