I’ve heard from a lot of defense lawyers this week about what an abomination the Republicans’ "loser pays" legislation would be for the people of the State of Mississippi. My response is…..say it (play video):

Not to me. I get it. Say it to your elected representatives. Say it publicly. Don’t be afraid. You can do it.

Do not tell me that you are afraid that your clients would not like it if you say it.

First, you underestimate your clients. Those in-house lawyers and insurance adjusters you work for need the legal system just as bad as you do. What exactly is it you think they would be doing if they didn’t have you to manage? Like you, they are expendable. So they will not get bent out of shape if you speak up for the citizens of your state.

Second, you aren’t going to have any clients if this bill passes. Look to the lawyer to your right. Look to the lawyer to your left. Look at your legal assistant and secretary. None of you will have your current job in three years if this bill passes. Entire insurance defense firms will disappear. Litigation departments of full service firms will be gutted.

Most importantly, this bill is bad for the people of this state. And you know it.

  • I’d like to offer an amendment:
    When a member of the legislature proposes a bill, and that bill fails to become law in its proposed form for any reason, that member, and the interest group that is backing him, shall be jointly and severally liable for the time, expense, and costs to consider, debate, and kill said stupid bill.

  • Roland Tembo

    Great post Philip. Further, with all the talk lately of “Sunshine Laws”, i’d love for someone to shine a little light on the fact that Rep. Chism runs an insurance firm, and no telling what percentage of his campaign funds came from the insurance industry.

  • 75/25

    I’m strongly considering a letter to various legislators and others. However, I’d like to see a concensus among concerned lawyers over the real impart of this legislation. First, does it apply to all defendants, or only natural persons (not corporations). The first line of the bill leads me to believe that it’s the latter. Is “individual” defined elseswhere as being inclusive of a corporation? Also, it does not appear that the bill exempts plaintiffs who pay their lawyers by the hour. Rather, it appears to exempt the lawyers themselves who are paid by the hour. Don’t get me wrong. The bill is still ridiculous. But, I don’t think that we do ourselves any favors by stretching the truth on what the bill actually proposes.

  • Eddie Abdeen

    I agree with Philip’s take on this legislation. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “justice is blind but people are not”. Since “people” draft legislation and serve as trial court and appellate judges, there are always going to be “issues” related to objectivity when it comes to “tort reform” legislation and the court system.
    If the purpose of the legislation is to address “frivolous” lawsuits, Rule 11 and the Litigation Accountability Act are already in place. Sanctions under Rule 11 and the Act just need to be pursued AND ENFORCED by the Courts.

  • Philip Thomas

    The intent of the bill is clear. They will clean up the verbage problerms before the final passage. People need to focus on the intent and stop nit-picking the drafting.

  • Roland Tembo

    I’ve been told by a reliable source that this bill is DOA and will never make it out of committee.

  • Law Cal

    I have seen the letterheads of the defense firms shrink in the past 8 years. You think it sucks being a med mal lawyer now??? Wait until this gets passed. It is really time for the defense bar to actually get off its collective a$$ and do something in their own self-interest. (And no, voting for Phil Bryant doesn’t count). They need to actually call their legislator and tell them to vote no or they will be out of business in 12 months. And they can send the bill for their time on the phone to Speaker Gunn.

  • Andy

    If you think loser pays is bad take a look at the Auto No Fault Bill. Can’t believe it has not gotten as much attention.

  • Newman

    Andy is right. The auto no fault bill is really bad. Simply put – buy your policy, have your accident, take what we offer or you’ll have nothing and like it and don’t let the door hit you on your way out.

  • varas

    This legislation is a terribel idea as is the auto no fault bill as is some other legislation. I was wondering why so many terrible ideas are coming out of the legislature and then it occurred to me maybe it is because we the people have been electing alot of terrible representatives