As in 2003, trial lawyers in Mississippi are once again crying ‘wolf’, trying to drum up sympathy and support just in time for the meat of the election season.
YallPolitics’ friend Philip Thomas wrote a blog post last week on his site ‘Mississippi Litigation Review’ that has liberals across Mississippi talking. The piece, entitled “What Would a Republican Controlled Mississippi House of Representatives Mean for the Legal Profession in Mississippi?”, takes a look at the possibility of expanding tort reform and what he perceives to be the negatives of such efforts, especially if conservatives finally take the Mississippi House in November.
Thomas bases the majority of his piece on a bill that would reduce the non-economic damages cap to $250,000. He writes, “Many defense lawyers would lose their jobs and many defense firms would go away. I’m not naming any names, but many of the medium-sized litigation firms would cease to exist. Firms with 40-50 litigators would see that number reduced in half at least, unless most of their cases are outside the State of Mississippi.”
Thomas goes on to say, “A lot of lawyers would retire. A lot of lawyers would leave the state or take in-house jobs paying a fraction of what they now earn. Many legal assistants, secretaries, court reporters and other legal industry support staff would lose their jobs.” He even adds, “Owners of office space such as Parkway Properties would suffer due to the declining demand for office space. Private schools in the Jackson area would lose students. Country clubs, bars and restaurants frequented by lawyers would take a big hit.”
It should not surprise anyone that (1) Thomas is a trial lawyer and an admitted Democratic voter and (2) I respectfully disagree with his conclusions.
As I have repeatedly warned, the closer conservatives get to capturing the Mississippi House, emotional rallying cries like this will increase inside the Democratic base. All of this will go to try and convince Mississippi voters that Republicans are bad and that their ascension to political power should be fought at all costs.
Democrats in Mississippi would like nothing more than to roll back tort reform, and they are content to do it one bite at a time. Why do you think there are a number of trial lawyers running for the legislature this year from Pascagoula to Oxford? If elected, or reelected, they will be looking for any open door to chip away at the advances we have made in tort reform.
Mississippi’s tort reform action is perhaps one of the most comprehensive in the country, creating a healthier environment for employers and employees alike. As Governor Haley Barbour said during his last State of the State address, tort reform “has been a major factor in economic growth and job creation.”
Governor Barbour also said during that same speech that, “Medical liability premiums have declined by 61 percent, and the number of medical liability cases filed against Mississippi physicians fell 90 percent within one year of the law’s going into effect.”
If the trial lawyer lobby had their way, Mississippi would be less business friendly, resulting in less jobs, higher insurance costs, and an environment where frivolous lawsuits would take precedent over the welfare of the people of Mississippi.
Conservatives in Mississippi must stand up against any attempt to roll back tort reform, and that starts at the ballot box this November. Less trial lawyers and Democrats in the legislature means more Mississippi jobs and more money in the average taxpayer’s pocket.
It’s your choice Mississippi… Will you cast your vote for Republican conservatives who will hold the line on tort reform, control state spending and debt, and maintain a healthy environment for employers and employees?
Let your voice be heard November 8th.