As part of a "Create Jobs; Not Lawsuits" campaign in California, Orange County state Assemblyman Don Wagner today blasted what he sees as Proposition 65's abuse of businesses by greedy plaintiff's lawyers.
The voter-approved 1986 proposition called, "The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act," allows for private bounty hunters to sue business owners and keep for themselves tens of millions of dollars in settlements each year.
The situation alarms Wagner, a corporate lawyer himself and the Republican vice chairman of the Assembly's judiciary committee.
"Business owners in California spend far too much time and money defending themselves from lawyers hoping to extort a windfall from them," Wagner said in a prepared press statement. "These lawsuits only serve to make it more difficult for businesses to operate and create jobs in California."
Lisa Salisbury, a business attorney, joined with Wagner and said Prop. 65 lawsuits are largely motivated by one thing: greedy lawyers.
According to a recent report by The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, California businesses paid $140 million in Prop. 65 settlements during a 10-year period that ended in 2010. Of that amount, public treasuries took just 14 percent of the total. The bounty hunter's take? More than $90 million, or 68 percent of the settlements, according to the group.
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In 2006, I wrote a cover story that outlined similar legal system abuses by individuals who manipulate the noble intentions of state law and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Go HERE to read, "The New Crips."
Today's press event was sponsored by California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse.