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Limits on Lawsuits

Once again there are pending bills in the US Senate to reduce "frivolous lawsuits". These bills are introduced in virtually every session, primarily by republican senators. The senators listen to stories of runaway verdicts propounded by the insurance industry which spends $millions on lobbying each session. This push is not based on facts and statistics.

Research demonstrates that personal injury actions and filings have been reduced over the past decade and while the courts are flooded with litigation, those suits generally involve business lawsuits, criminal cases, and divorce.

Indeed, insurance companies have worked with the media to spread their message to all of us. By citing the McDonald's hot coffee case and others, they have created the impression, or perception, that juries are regularly making lottery winners of plaintiffs in civil actions.

When president Trump began his campaign for the presidency the Washington Post reported that he and his companies were involved, on one side or the other, in some 3,000 pending lawsuits. It is ironic that Congress would seek to limit the courthouse doors to the consumer and the little guy when our former leader is the most litigious president to have ever served.

The various bills seek to limit damages (which has already been done by several state legislatures in medical cases) and reduce fees for lawyers. The bills relate only to medical and personal injury actions and do not affect business lawsuits by the big players in any respect.

The seventh amendment to the US Constitution guarantees the right of jury trial in civil cases. It is a simple declaration without restrictions. Attempts by congress to place caps on damages in civil jury trials is an attempt to limit the seventh amendment.

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