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Difference between revisions of "Tort Reform, Corporate Liability and the Rights of Injured Americans"

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| style="color:#000000;" | <div style="padding:2px 5px; font-size:120%;">[[Image:Justice.jpg|left|150px|alt=Tort Reform, Corporate Liability and the Rights of Injured Americans]]'''Through the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, global corporations and state politicians VOTE BEHIND CLOSED DOORS to change the laws to limit the rights and remedies of Americans injured or killed by corporations.''' These so-called "model bills" erode the rights of an injured person, or that person's family, who files a complaint alleging that a corporation caused injury or death and should be held responsible for all the damages its actions caused. '''Through ALEC, corporations have "a VOICE and a VOTE" on specific changes to the law that are then proposed in state legislatures. ''Do you?'' '''</div>
 
| style="color:#000000;" | <div style="padding:2px 5px; font-size:120%;">[[Image:Justice.jpg|left|150px|alt=Tort Reform, Corporate Liability and the Rights of Injured Americans]]'''Through the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, global corporations and state politicians VOTE BEHIND CLOSED DOORS to change the laws to limit the rights and remedies of Americans injured or killed by corporations.''' These so-called "model bills" erode the rights of an injured person, or that person's family, who files a complaint alleging that a corporation caused injury or death and should be held responsible for all the damages its actions caused. '''Through ALEC, corporations have "a VOICE and a VOTE" on specific changes to the law that are then proposed in state legislatures. ''Do you?'' '''</div>
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[[Image:Point.png|left|70px]][[media:Tort_Reform.zip|<big> Click here for a zip file of bills relating to '''Tort Reform, Corporate Liability, and the Rights of Injured Americans'''</big>]]
 
[[Image:Point.png|left|70px]][[media:Tort_Reform.zip|<big> Click here for a zip file of bills relating to '''Tort Reform, Corporate Liability, and the Rights of Injured Americans'''</big>]]
 
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<big>For a full list of bills from this section, [[Bills Affecting the Rights of Americans Injured or Killed by Corporations|click here]]</big>
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[[Image:Full list.png|left|70px]]
 
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<big>For a full list of individual bills from this section, [[Bills Affecting the Rights of Americans Injured or Killed by Corporations|click here]]</big>
<big>''For descriptions of some of these bills, [[#How are corporations avoiding liability in these bills?| scroll down or click here]]''.</big>
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<big>''For descriptions of some of these bills, [[#How are corporations avoiding liability in these bills?| scroll down or click here]]''</big>
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'''ALEC, tort reform, and ALEC corporations are also discussed in the tobacco library, the archive of internal tobacco industry documents.''' Additionally, a search for a term like "Koch Industries" -- a long-time  funder of  ALEC-- reveals numerous documents of interest.
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<tdo>search_term="American Legislative Exchange Council" and "tort reform" </tdo>
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! style="padding:2px;" | <h2 style="margin:3px; background:#000000; font-size:140%; font-weight:bold; border:1px solid #000000; text-align:left; color:#ffffff; padding:0.2em 0.4em;">How are corporations undermining workers through these bills?</h2>
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! style="padding:2px;" | <h2 style="margin:3px; background:#000000; font-size:140%; font-weight:bold; border:1px solid #000000; text-align:left; color:#ffffff; padding:0.2em 0.4em;">How corporations undermine the rights of injured Americans</h2>
 
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<big>'''These bills erode the rights of workers in favor of corporate interests by:'''</big><br>
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<big>'''The bills try to change Americans' rights by:'''</big><br>
*'''Limiting union rights (the rights of firefighters, police, teachers, and other public workers)--'''
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* [http://www.alecexposed.org/w/images/8/8b/0C2-Class_Actions_Improvements_Act_Exposed.pdf Making it harder for injured people to use class action rules] that can expose the widespread harms of dangerous products and strengthen the negotiating power of injured people
**'''Pushing union-busting [http://alecexposed.org/w/images/c/c8/1R10-Right_to_Work_Act_Exposed.pdf 'right to work']  legislation'''
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* Limiting corporate financial liability through changing the rules for [http://www.alecexposed.org/w/images/8/84/0A1-Comparative_Fault_Act_Exposed.pdf apportioning fault]
**[http://alecexposed.org/w/images/0/0f/1R6-Prohibition_on_Compensation_Deductions_Act_Exposed.pdf '''Limiting dues deduction'''] from paycheck, (also [http://alecexposed.org/w/images/c/c9/1R9-Public_Employer_Payroll_Deduction_Policy_Act_Exposed.pdf here]) and 
+
* Making it easier for corporations to get a judge to dismiss an injured American's case ''before'' it gets to a jury by:<br>
**Allowing employees to [http://alecexposed.org/w/images/1/15/1R8-Public_Employee_Freedom_Act_Exposed.pdf '''opt-out of union dues'''] but benefit from union negotiations with the employer (also [http://alecexposed.org/w/images/2/27/1R0-Employee_Rights_Reform_Act_Exposed.pdf here]), and
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** [http://www.alecexposed.org/w/images/7/77/0A0-Assumption_of_Risk_Act_Exposed.pdf Barring the case by saying the injured person assumed the risk],
**[http://www.alecexposed.org/w/images/2/22/1P6-Resolution_on_Release_Time_for_Union_Business_Exposed.pdf '''Disallowing limited time for union activities from being negotiated as part of employment contracts'''], and
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** Changing the rules about ''where'' injured Americans can sue through changes to [http://www.alecexposed.org/w/images/3/3d/0C4-Forum_Non_Conveniens_Act_Exposed.pdf court rules], including rules that limit people from [http://www.alecexposed.org/w/images/3/3d/0C4-Forum_Non_Conveniens_Act_Exposed.pdf multiple states] joining as plaintiffs
**[http://www.alecexposed.org/w/images/d/df/1I0-Public_Employees_Portable_Retirement_Option_PRO_Act_Exposed.pdf '''Dramatically changing pension rights'''] for public employees (from defined benefits to defined contributions) and transferring the management of pension funds into private companies (and also [http://www.alecexposed.org/w/images/7/71/1J0-Principles_of_ALEC_Regarding_Proposed_Socially_Conscious_Investments_And_Controversial_Stock_Divestiture_Exposed.pdf '''opposing socially conscious investments''']
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** [http://www.alecexposed.org/w/images/1/10/0C8-Summary_Judgment_Procedure_Act_Exposed.pdf Altering rules] to summarily dismiss the case before trial,
 
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* [http://www.alecexposed.org/w/images/8/8d/0B0-Medical_Review_Panel_Act_Exposed.pdf Requiring medical malpractice lawsuits be filtered by doctors and the hospital industry]
*'''Limiting wages--'''
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* Deterring lawsuits by:
** Opposes minimum wage laws (LINK)
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** [http://www.alecexposed.org/w/images/e/e3/0H0-Accuracy_in_Pleading_Act_Exposed.pdf making it harder for injured people to bring suits based on limited information] about how an accident occurred, information that could be discovered using tools available to after a suit is filed,
** [http://www.alecexposed.org/w/images/6/60/1E8-Prevailing_Wage_Repeal_Act_Exposed.pdf '''Repeals the prevailing wage paid for government projects'''], which lowers wage standards, potentially lowers the quality of public works projects, and undermines the competitiveness of potential contractors that have union employees
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** [http://www.alecexposed.org/w/images/6/68/0H2-Offer_of_Settlement_Act_Exposed.pdf Punishing] injured Americans by requiring they pay corporate attorneys' fees if a jury award is not significantly larger than an earlier offer of settlement,
 
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** [http://www.alecexposed.org/w/images/d/dd/0C7-Regulatory_Class_Action_Reform_Act_Exposed.pdf Barring injured Americans from getting any damages from corporations whose products injure them if products are subject to government regulation], and  giving manufacturers a [http://www.alecexposed.org/w/images/8/88/0M4-Regulatory_Compliance_Congruity_With_Liability_Act_Exposed.pdf defense against liability if their product met governmental standards], even though many regulatory agencies have been captured by the industries being regulated, many of the same industries pushing these bills.
*'''Pushing international agreements that undermine the opportunities of American workers--'''
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** [http://www.alecexposed.org/w/images/e/eb/0C9-The_Reliability_in_Expert_Testimony_Standards_Act_Exposed.pdf Making it more difficult] to introduce new scientific research in injury cases through expert witnesses by requiring states to follow federal expert rules that corporations favor,<br>
**Favoring so-called "free trade" agreements that ships good-paying American jobs overseas to developing nations that pay workers subsistence wages (LINK)
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* Limiting the power of Congress to create national rules to protect Americans, no matter their state residence, if injured by defective corporate products distributed nationally,
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* [http://www.alecexposed.org/w/images/5/57/0G6-Punitive_Damages_Standards_Act_Exposed.pdf Limiting punitive damages] designed to deter wrongdoing that kills or harms a person. (See also [http://www.alecexposed.org/w/images/7/78/0G2-Limits_on_Multiple_Punitive_Damages_Resolution_Exposed.pdf here.])
*'''Uses tax dollars to subsidize for-profit corporations for work traditionally performed by government, such as--
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* [http://www.alecexposed.org/w/images/4/44/0G1-Full_Fair_Noneconomic_Damages_Act_Exposed.pdf Limiting "noneconomic damages," like pain and suffering.]
**'''[http://www.alecexposed.org/w/images/4/4e/1C3-COUNCIL_ON_EFFICIENT_GOVERNMENT_ACT_Exposed.pdf The "Council on Efficient Government Act"]''' that outsources public services and weakens public employee unions, and
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<br>
**The [http://www.alecexposed.org/w/images/d/dd/1C2-COMPETITIVE_CONTRACTING_OF_PUBLIC_SERVICES_ACT_Exposed.pdf '''"Competitive Contracting of Public Services Act"'''] and [http://www.alecexposed.org/w/images/8/8b/1C8-PUBLIC-PRIVATE_FAIR_COMPETITION_ACT_Exposed.pdf '''"Public-Private Fair Competition Act"'''], bills that require agencies to consider whether services can be provided by private entities at lower cost, which reduces the amount paid to workers while adding a profit margin in for corporate executives.
+
''To see a full list of these bills, [[Bills Affecting the Rights of Americans Injured or Killed by Corporations|click here]]''
 
+
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* '''And, deterring injured employees from making worker’s compensation claims''':
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<h3>Governor Scott Walker's "Tort Reforms"</h3>
*[http://alecexposed.org/w/images/8/8b/1Q5-Workers_Compensation_Medical_Records_Disclosure_Act_Exposed.pdf '''For example, giving employers wide access to employees' medical records''']
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[[Image:Wisconsin.png|left|90px]] Wisconsin Governor and ALEC alumni Scott Walker’s first action upon taking office was to push "tort reform" measures from the ALEC corporate wish list to protect corporations from lawsuits. This bill, [http://www.alecexposed.org/wiki/File:2011WisAct2_Exposed.pdf Wisconsin Act 2], passed on a party-line vote and was signed into law by Walker in January 2011.  It incorporates several "tort reform" bills supported by ALEC corporations. For example, it:
 
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* Adopts parts of ALEC's [http://www.alecexposed.org/w/images/5/57/0G6-Punitive_Damages_Standards_Act_Exposed.pdf "Punitive Damage Standards Act,"] limiting the ability to hold corporations accountable for outrageous acts of negligence or recklessness.
'' '''To see a full list of bills, click [[Bills Affecting Workers Rights| here]].''' ''
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* Draws liberally from the ALEC [http://www.alecexposed.org/w/images/d/d0/0M1-Product_Liability_Act_Exposed.pdf "Product Liability Act,"] giving corporations free rein to manufacture shoddy products that can wound or maim, so long as the product is approved by a regulatory agency (and even though corporations routinely work to water-down regulatory safety standards), even if the corporation knew the product was dangerous. See also the ALEC [http://www.alecexposed.org/w/images/8/88/0M4-Regulatory_Compliance_Congruity_With_Liability_Act_Exposed.pdf "Regulatory Compliance with Liability Act."]
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* Draws from elements of the [http://www.alecexposed.org/w/images/8/84/0A1-Comparative_Fault_Act_Exposed.pdf "Comparative Fault Act"] and "Joint and Several Liability Act" in changing the standards for apportioning fault to corporations.  
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* Extends liability protections to the nursing home industry (which supported Walker in the election), similar to ALEC bills such as the [http://alecexposed.org/w/images/5/59/0G3-Noneconomic_Damage_Awards_Act_Exposed.pdf "Non-Economic Damages Act,"] limiting awards in cases involving for long-term skilled nursing home providers.
! style="padding:2px;" | <h2 style="margin:3px; background:#000000; font-size:140%; font-weight:bold; border:1px solid #000000; text-align:left; color:#ffffff; padding:0.2em 0.4em;">Did You Know about ''this'' Bill?</h2>
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* Adopts the ALEC [http://www.alecexposed.org/w/images/e/eb/0C9-The_Reliability_in_Expert_Testimony_Standards_Act_Exposed.pdf "Reliability in Expert Testimony Standards Act"] verbatim, imposing federal rules corporations favor for determining who can testify as an expert witness in the state court.  
|-
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After Governor Walker changed the rights of injured Wisconsin residents, ALEC [http://www.alec.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=ALEC_Commends_Gov_Walker_for_Decreasing_Burdens_on_Businesses_by_Reforming_Wisconsin_s_Legal_System publicly applauded] his actions.
| style="color:#000000;" | <div style="padding:2px 5px;"><h3>Authorizing "Car Title Pledges" for Predatory Lenders </h3>
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<br>
[[Image:Family.png|left|90px]] [http://alecexposed.org/w/images/9/9a/1G8-Title_Pledge_Act_Exposed.pdf One "model bill"] approved by ALEC corporations would authorize a form of short-term lending that many states have recognized as unfair and predatory to low-income consumers. Specifically, it advances the interest of lending companies in giving short-term, 30-day renewable loans backed by a borrower's car title, loans that usually have high interest rates, which are very difficult for people to in difficult financial circumstances to keep up with.  
+
''For a marked-up version of Wis Act 2 noting the relevant ALEC bills, click [http://www.alecexposed.org/w/images/a/a0/2011WisAct2_Exposed.pdf here].''
 
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Consumer groups have opposed this type of lending not only because the high interest rates and short-term repayment period can trap consumers in a cycle of debt, but also because it risks losing their cars, which are often needed to get to work. The bill also provides few consumer protections, for example failing to include a private right of action with strong remedies, and requiring that all claims be brought within one year. This provides little deterrence for predatory lenders, and because the budgets of regulatory agencies are limited, the state cannot adequately protect against abuses.  
+
Read more about the ALEC "tort reform" agenda at [http://www.prwatch.org/news/2011/07/10886/alec-and-tort-reform prwatch.org], and see the Center for Justice & Democracy's 2010 [http://www.centerjd.org/archives/studies/AmericasWorstTopModelWPaperF1.pdf "America's Worst Top Model"] report.
 
+
The Consumer Federation of America, USPIRG, and the Center for Responsible Lending sent a [http://www.responsiblelending.org/other-consumer-loans/car-title-loans/research-analysis/Comment-ALEC_TitlePledgeAct-112905.pdf letter] to ALEC opposing "car title pledges" in November 2005, enumerating many examples of predatory title lending, and also pointing out the distorting influence of campaign contributors from this sector of sound public policy. Bills like this have become law in Mississippi, Tennessee, and elsewhere; the ban on this type of predatory lending was also [http://www.responsiblelending.org/tools-resources/headlines/Wisconsin-Governor-Signs-2-Year-Budget.html rolled-back] in Wisconsin after ALEC alum Scott Walker became governor in 2011.  
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<big>'''These bills restrict the rights of consumers in favor of the big banks, predatory lenders, and others by''': </big><br>
+
<h3>Limiting Damages for the Loss of Your Child, Spouse, or Parent</h3>
 +
[[Image:Family.png|left|90px]] [http://alecexposed.org/w/images/5/59/0G3-Noneconomic_Damage_Awards_Act_Exposed.pdf One of the corporate-politician proposals of ALEC] would limit the ability of a family to recover for emotional damages due to the death or injury of a loved one. This type of legislation basically makes working class or poor people's lives -- as well as the elderly -- worth less to their families because any damages for pain and suffering due to the death of a child, spouse, or parent would be limited to an amount equal to twice their loved one's lost earnings. These kinds of corporate provisions try to prevent a jury of YOUR peers from awarding you damages for all you have lost or suffered, AFTER a jury finds that your loved one's death was the result of corporate negligence, misconduct, or greed.<br>
 +
'''Is a local legislator who was elected to represent YOU actually protecting the profits of global corporate wrongdoers through such legislation instead of YOU and YOUR FAMILY?'''
  
*[http://alecexposed.org/w/images/e/ee/1C10-Resolution_in_Opposition_to_a_Consumer_Financial_Protection_Agency_Exposed.pdf '''Opposing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau'''], created to help police Wall Street and protect consumers (some politicians are also trying to block Elizabeth Warren from leading the the CFPB)  (and also [http://alecexposed.org/w/images/1/15/1B0-Real_Estate_and_Economic_Growth_Resolution_Exposed.pdf '''Encouraging pension fund investment in real estate securities'''] 
+
<h3>Barring Corporate Liability for Killing Your Dog or Cat</h3>
 +
[[Image:Pet.png|left|90px]] In addition to limiting the rights of people injured by corporations, under the guise of limiting "frivolous" litigation, [http://www.alecexposed.org/w/images/e/e2/0F4-Resolution_on_Animal_Liability_and_Guardianship_Exposed.pdf one ALEC resolution from 2006] supports making it harder for you to obtain any compensation from a company whose negligence killed your family pet. In 2009, Americans learned that many U.S. pet food companies had shipped the production of food for their four-legged companions overseas and that Chinese contractors had contaminated the pet food with melamine to increase profit margins, resulting in serious injuries and death to numerous dogs and cats in the U.S.<br>
  
*[http://alecexposed.org/w/images/8/8b/1H1-Resolution_Urging_Congress_to_Oppose_Measures_Designed_to_Impose_Ceilings_on_Credit_Card_Rates_Exposed.pdf '''Opposing limits on astronomical credit card rates,'''] and thus opposing efforts to limit Americans’ credit card debt
+
'''If passed in your state, ALEC's corporation-backed proposal would make it very difficult for YOU to recover any damages for the loss of your beloved animal companion due to corporate negligence or misconduct in manufacturing pet food.'''
  
*[http://alecexposed.org/w/images/0/0a/1H0-Resolution_in_Opposition_to_Government_Imposed_Caps_or_Elimination_of_ATM_Service_Charges_Exposed.pdf '''Opposing limits on ATM fees''']
+
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+
<h3>Oh, the Hypocrisy!</h3>
*[http://alecexposed.org/w/images/f/f0/1L6-Resolution_Supporting_Territorial_Rating_Exposed.pdf '''Allowing insurance companies to engage in "red-lining" by re-branding the practice "territorial ratings" ''')
+
Despite ALEC's efforts to limit the rights of injured Americans to vindicate their losses through personal injury lawsuits, ALEC's then-Executive Director, Duane Parde, brought a tort lawsuit against his own orthopedic surgeon for malpractice in 2002, according to the American Association for Justice. Parde demanded $250,000 in damages, alleging he "suffered permanent injury and damage, sustained and continues to sustain conscious pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, and otherwise incurred and continues to incur losses and expenses."
 
+
*[http://alecexposed.org/w/images/0/08/1G7-State_Power_to_Regulate_Lending_Act_Exposed.pdf Prohibiting local governments from regulating unfair or predatory lending practices'''] (and also backing high interest loans secured by car titles, detailed below)
+
 
+
*[http://alecexposed.org/wiki/File:1A0-Affordable_Housing_Construction_Stimulation_Act_Exposed.pdf '''Eliminating building and maintenance codes for affordable housing'''] under the guise of "increasing the construction of low-income housing"
+
 
+
*And, among other things, [http://alecexposed.org/w/images/6/62/1M4-Constitutional_Amendment_Restricting_the_Use_of_Vehicle_Fees_and_Taxes_for_Highway_Purposes_Exposed.pdf '''Limiting the ability to fund comprehensive transportation policies'''] through a state Constitutional Amendment requiring that revenues from gas taxes and vehicle-related fees be used for highways, rather than investment in light rail or bike lanes or other options less profitable for oil companies.
+
 
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<h3>Some of this Corporate Agenda Has Already Become Law</h3>
 
[[Image:Wisconsin.png|left|90px]]'''Wisconsin Governor (and ALEC alum) Scott Walker took a cue from the ALEC corporate wish list and introduced a radical bill in February 2011 to cripple public employee unions.'''  Wisconsin Act 10 inspired months of protests and has been subjected to a series of legal challenges.
 
 
There is no ALEC bill that exactly mirrors Walker's proposal, but the Wisconsin bill does comport with ALEC's sweeping anti-union agenda, which includes decades of support for "[http://alecexposed.org/w/images/c/c8/1R10-Right_to_Work_Act_Exposed.pdf Right to Work]" and "[http://alecexposed.org/w/images/b/b8/Paycheck_Protection_Act_Exposed.pdf Paycheck Protection]" legislation and other measures to disempower and defund unions. On collective bargaining, ALEC's "[http://alecexposed.org/w/images/1/15/1R8-Public_Employee_Freedom_Act_Exposed.pdf Public Employee Freedom Act]" declares that "an employee should be able to contract on their own terms" and "mandatory collective bargaining laws violate this freedom." This ALEC bill and the "[http://alecexposed.org/w/images/c/c9/1R9-Public_Employer_Payroll_Deduction_Policy_Act_Exposed.pdf Public Employer Payroll Deduction Act]" prohibit automatic payroll deductions for union dues, a key aspect of the Walker bill. To learn more about this story, [http://www.thenation.com/ PLACEHOLDER].
 
 
'''Have any of these bills been introduced or enacted in YOUR state?'''</div>
 
 
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Revision as of 17:58, 13 July 2011

Escaping Responsibility for Corporate Products or Practices that Injure or Kill Americans

Tort Reform, Corporate Liability and the Rights of Injured Americans
Through the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, global corporations and state politicians VOTE BEHIND CLOSED DOORS to change the laws to limit the rights and remedies of Americans injured or killed by corporations. These so-called "model bills" erode the rights of an injured person, or that person's family, who files a complaint alleging that a corporation caused injury or death and should be held responsible for all the damages its actions caused. Through ALEC, corporations have "a VOICE and a VOTE" on specific changes to the law that are then proposed in state legislatures. Do you?

READ the "Model Bills" HERE

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Click here for a zip file of bills relating to Tort Reform, Corporate Liability, and the Rights of Injured Americans


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For a full list of individual bills from this section, click here

For descriptions of some of these bills, scroll down or click here



Search the Tobacco Library

ALEC, tort reform, and ALEC corporations are also discussed in the tobacco library, the archive of internal tobacco industry documents. Additionally, a search for a term like "Koch Industries" -- a long-time funder of ALEC-- reveals numerous documents of interest.

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Legacy Tobacco Documents Library:


(Searching here will take you to a third-party website not connected to ALEC Exposed.)



How YOU Can Expose ALEC & Share What You Learn

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SPREAD THE WORD. Share information about ALEC through Facebook, e-mail and Twitter. Concerned groups and people in every state need this to investigate how ALEC corporations are rewriting laws for their own advantage. And, please join the conversation on Facebook!
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EXPOSE ALEC LEGISLATORS. Demand the truth about which politicians in your state are in ALEC. Uncover whether YOUR tax dollars are paying ALEC "dues." Expose politicians who accept “scholarships” from ALEC's corporate-funded coffers for fancy trips.
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EXPOSE ALEC'S ROLE IN YOUR STATE HOUSE. Read these corporate-backed "model bills" NOW and cross-check them with bills in your state legislature. Ask your local media to report on what you have found and write your local newspaper.
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SHARE YOUR DISCOVERIES. Tell us what you uncovered! Tweet what you learn with the hashtag #ALECexposed, join a discussion on this site or email us a confidential tip via editor AT ALECexposed.org. And, follow our tweets on Twitter!
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Learn MORE about the "Model Bills" ALEC Corporations Are Backing to Rewrite YOUR Rights

The Center for Media and Democracy analyzed the bills ALEC politicians and corporations voted for. More analysis is available below and also at ALEC Exposed's sister sites, PRWatch and SourceWatch.

How corporations undermine the rights of injured Americans

The bills try to change Americans' rights by:


To see a full list of these bills, click here


Governor Scott Walker's "Tort Reforms"

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Wisconsin Governor and ALEC alumni Scott Walker’s first action upon taking office was to push "tort reform" measures from the ALEC corporate wish list to protect corporations from lawsuits. This bill, Wisconsin Act 2, passed on a party-line vote and was signed into law by Walker in January 2011. It incorporates several "tort reform" bills supported by ALEC corporations. For example, it:
  • Adopts parts of ALEC's "Punitive Damage Standards Act," limiting the ability to hold corporations accountable for outrageous acts of negligence or recklessness.
  • Draws liberally from the ALEC "Product Liability Act," giving corporations free rein to manufacture shoddy products that can wound or maim, so long as the product is approved by a regulatory agency (and even though corporations routinely work to water-down regulatory safety standards), even if the corporation knew the product was dangerous. See also the ALEC "Regulatory Compliance with Liability Act."
  • Draws from elements of the "Comparative Fault Act" and "Joint and Several Liability Act" in changing the standards for apportioning fault to corporations.
  • Extends liability protections to the nursing home industry (which supported Walker in the election), similar to ALEC bills such as the "Non-Economic Damages Act," limiting awards in cases involving for long-term skilled nursing home providers.
  • Adopts the ALEC "Reliability in Expert Testimony Standards Act" verbatim, imposing federal rules corporations favor for determining who can testify as an expert witness in the state court.

After Governor Walker changed the rights of injured Wisconsin residents, ALEC publicly applauded his actions.
For a marked-up version of Wis Act 2 noting the relevant ALEC bills, click here.


Read more about the ALEC "tort reform" agenda at prwatch.org, and see the Center for Justice & Democracy's 2010 "America's Worst Top Model" report.

Did you know about ALEC and . . .

Limiting Damages for the Loss of Your Child, Spouse, or Parent

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One of the corporate-politician proposals of ALEC would limit the ability of a family to recover for emotional damages due to the death or injury of a loved one. This type of legislation basically makes working class or poor people's lives -- as well as the elderly -- worth less to their families because any damages for pain and suffering due to the death of a child, spouse, or parent would be limited to an amount equal to twice their loved one's lost earnings. These kinds of corporate provisions try to prevent a jury of YOUR peers from awarding you damages for all you have lost or suffered, AFTER a jury finds that your loved one's death was the result of corporate negligence, misconduct, or greed.

Is a local legislator who was elected to represent YOU actually protecting the profits of global corporate wrongdoers through such legislation instead of YOU and YOUR FAMILY?

Barring Corporate Liability for Killing Your Dog or Cat

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In addition to limiting the rights of people injured by corporations, under the guise of limiting "frivolous" litigation, one ALEC resolution from 2006 supports making it harder for you to obtain any compensation from a company whose negligence killed your family pet. In 2009, Americans learned that many U.S. pet food companies had shipped the production of food for their four-legged companions overseas and that Chinese contractors had contaminated the pet food with melamine to increase profit margins, resulting in serious injuries and death to numerous dogs and cats in the U.S.

If passed in your state, ALEC's corporation-backed proposal would make it very difficult for YOU to recover any damages for the loss of your beloved animal companion due to corporate negligence or misconduct in manufacturing pet food.


Oh, the Hypocrisy!

Despite ALEC's efforts to limit the rights of injured Americans to vindicate their losses through personal injury lawsuits, ALEC's then-Executive Director, Duane Parde, brought a tort lawsuit against his own orthopedic surgeon for malpractice in 2002, according to the American Association for Justice. Parde demanded $250,000 in damages, alleging he "suffered permanent injury and damage, sustained and continues to sustain conscious pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, and otherwise incurred and continues to incur losses and expenses."

More Helpful Resources

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Additional resources on ALEC's corporate agenda:

ALEC Exposed is a project of the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD). CMD does NOT accept donations from for-profit corporations or government agencies. More information about CMD is available here. You can reach CMD's Executive Director, Lisa Graves, via editor AT ALECexposed.org. Privacy policy: Other than material you post to this wiki in your name, our privacy policy is that we will not disclose private personally identifiable information or data about you, such as your name, email address, or other information, unless required by law. On copyright: ALEC Exposed considers contributions to this wiki to be released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License or in accordance with law. Information on how to provide us with notice regarding copyright is available at this link. Notices regarding copyright or other matters should be sent to our designated agent, Lisa Graves, via email (editor AT ALECexposed.org).

 
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