Lord knows, Arizona has its share of problems. But you know what? I would still not want to live anywhere else.
Say what you want about the summer weather, or the mediocrity of our professional sports teams, or the front-page news politics that we put our foot in every now and then. Don’t care. I love Arizona.
The other day I read an article that purported to discuss the issue of “lawsuit abuse” in Arizona. What?? Now, having lived in Arizona for 29 years and having practiced personal injury law for 22 of them, I can honestly confirm one very important fact:
Arizona has problems, but “lawsuit abuse" is not one of them. When you hear this, it likely comes from front groups for big business (mostly insurance companies).
They spin bogus stories, layered with false information about our state's civil justice system. Why? Always keep in mind their prevailing goal: Maximizing profits.
Special interest groups serving the likes of tobacco, big oil, insurance and pharmaceutical companies, among others, spend millions every year on PR campaigns to demonize our civil justice system by spreading the fiction that lawsuits are responsible for high prices of products, insurance and nearly everything else.
They claim that “businesses can’t compete because of all of the lawsuits”.
Hogwash! This is complete and utter nonsense. The truth is these big, profit-minded corporations are not concerned about “junk lawsuits” –
What they really fear are meritorious lawsuits: Those brought by citizens against the businesses that are injuring people, producing unsafe products, polluting our environment, swindling the public or otherwise acting irresponsibly.
Big business knows very well that our courts can control the very few meritless lawsuits. Big business wants to brainwash the public so they can gain control (in advance) of the lawsuits that may be filed against them.
The facts are uncontroverted that civil lawsuits in Arizona have steadily declined over the last few years. Civil lawsuits in Arizona comprise less than 10% of all court case filings.
Most are criminal and family court cases (bankruptcies are up too). Even then, of the civil cases that are filed, most are not personal injury cases but are business disputes.
The numbers the insurance companies and big corporations hope for the public to believe are simply not supported by the facts.
There is an old trial lawyers’ saying: If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts; if you have the law on your side, pound the law; if you have neither, pound the table.
Arizona’s economic recovery has not been nearly as brisk as all of us would have hoped, so the insurance companies and corporations seek every advantage they can get.
Remember, there are no rules in love and war, and, no limits for big corporations seeking to maximize profits. There is a reason that the “lawsuit reforms” proposed by paid lobbyists have been rejected by both lawmakers and Arizona’s citizens every single time they have been proposed. They see through the muck and the charade.
They know that the touted “reforms” are really something else: A destruction of our constitutionally protected rights to hold wrongdoers responsible for harm, without false barriers that only serve to protect the wrongdoers who caused the harm in the first place.
Our civil justice system, though imperfect, is still the best in the world, and it is absolutely essential to hold reckless drivers, polluters, careless professionals and negligent companies and manufacturers responsible for the injuries they cause.
It provides a level playing field for all of us, even when taking on the most powerful corporate interests. You’ve heard the expression: “Justice is blind”.
The courts don’t care who you are, how big you are or how much money you have.
If your wrongdoings have resulted in harm to another, you can still be held responsible in a court of law in the United States. Are we really prepared to give up these rights? I hope not.