Mancini: No justice

Sunday, March 27, 2011 at 9:05pm
By Mary Mancini

Gov. Bill Haslam’s “Tennessee Civil Justice Act of 2011” should be renamed the “Miscarriage of Justice Act of 2011.” Since 1977, the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act has protected Tennesseans and their families from fraudulent and abusive business practices. But now, because the country has entered into an era of blaming the hardworking people of Main Street for the economic fiasco caused by the fraudulent business practices of the large corporations and unregulated traders of Wall Street, dismantling it seems to have become a priority. Tennessee Citizen Action maintains that depleting the strength of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act is yet one more way of placing undeserved blame for our state’s economic stagnation on hardworking Tennesseans. 

If passed, this bill will not create jobs. It will not make Tennessee more competitive. Nor will it make Tennessee more attractive to large corporations that, in place of jury awards, will grace us with gobs of jobs. It is widely known that Tennessee juries do not dole out excessive jury awards. So, if this bill is passed, there will be no marked difference in the amount of income businesses will retain and therefore no marked increase in the amount of jobs businesses will create. 

This bill is a solution in search of a problem. Tennesseans do not have a history of filing excessive lawsuits. In fact, since 2008, when a unique Tennessee solution was put in place to make it more difficult to file non-meritorious claims, there has been a 44 percent decline in the number of medical malpractice lawsuits filed and, more to the point, an increase in medical malpractice insurer profits. 

Tennessee Citizen Action believes that businesses are run by intelligent people who will be attracted to the state because they can see that, one, we are not known for excessive jury awards, and two, we already have a solution in place that streamlines the process in malpractice suits and weeds out non-meritorious claims. But most importantly, businesses will be attracted to the state when it begins to treat its people as its No. 1 priority, producing a well-educated and highly motivated workforce that stands on a firm foundation of a well-developed public infrastructure. 

Now, knowing that the bill will do nothing to decrease unemployment or fix any existing problem, it remains a mystery why anyone would see a need for the provision that would remove the right of a hardworking Tennessean to bring a private lawsuit against a large corporation and its rogue stock broker “for engaging in any act or practice which is deceptive to the consumer or any other person.” If passed, it would mean that the victims of the 14 or so Ponzi schemes operated since 2007 who lost millions of dollars would not be able to sue for damages under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act. Nor does it make sense to take away the right to a jury decision on issues of fraud or abuse by capping a monetary award at $750,000 per occurrence. If passed, this provision would mandate that, for example, the families of the 16 elderly nursing home residents who died in a deadly fire in 2003, as well as all the injured residents, would have had to share a $750,000 reward. 

Tennesseans rely on the TCPA to keep their loved ones safe and well cared for. They also rely on it to hold large corporations accountable for their actions and to act as a deterrent against repeated incidences of fraud and abuse. Gov. Haslam should make the people his No. 1 priority and allow the TCPA to stay intact. 

Mary Mancini is executive director of Tennessee Citizen Action, a public interest and consumer rights organization.


 

47 Comments on this post:

By: dargent7 on 3/28/11 at 7:07

The lawyer from Hughes & Coleman already has a commercial out on this limitation.
Guess what his motivation is? ONE guess only, please.

By: treehugger7 on 3/28/11 at 7:20

Great letter, Mary! Keep up the good work. I sure miss Liberadio!

By: Ingleweird on 3/28/11 at 7:41

What a shocker. Didn't see this coming; what, from a governor who doesn't see a problem with keeping his personal finances private and all.

If businesses can't keep from getting sued for lots of money, maybe, just maybe, they deserve to be put out of business.

Freak the governor and freak the general assembly. They couldn't be less concerned with the citizens of Tennessee.

By: yogiman on 3/28/11 at 8:24

Businesses go into business to make money. They are going to set their prices to make a minimum amount time wise.

That posted and understood, you can bet your bottom dollar the medical profession is not gong to lower your cost for visits to their offices. This bill will probably just give them a chance to make more money. After all, you might sue them later.

If not, they can retire early.

By: Mike Burch on 3/28/11 at 9:37

Jesus Christ said "Suffer the little children to come unto me," not to cause them to suffer. Jesus and the Hebrew prophets clearly commanded compassion and assistance for the weak, poor and needy. To deny needed assistance to poor, suffering children goes against everything the Bible says from beginning to end. And yet the Republican Party, which is now dominated by "Bible believing Christians" constantly does the exact opposite of what Jesus and the Hebrew prophets clearly commanded. Jesus saved most of his criticism for hypocrites. Can there be any greater hypocrisy than to use his name and deny assistance to poor children?

Mike Burch

By: JohnGalt on 3/28/11 at 9:39

Has anyone seen statistics on what percentage of liability suits actually go to trial? Most of these trial lawyers just seem to want to sign up clients, file the paperwork and wait for the insurance company to fork over the settlement of which they happily take a large chunk.

Perhaps a cap should be set on non-trial settlements so the lawyers would actually have to make a case and do some work for their cut.

By: Antisocialite on 3/28/11 at 9:58

JohnGalt said:
Perhaps a cap should be set on non-trial settlements so the lawyers would actually have to make a case and do some work for their cut.

Care to make any more blatant mischaracterizations John?

Clearly you aren't a lawyer or anyone who has ever known a lawyer personally, because if you had even an inkling of how the legal profession works you would know that the majority of work is done outside the courtroom. Even settlements, and other relatively minor issues that take up little, if any, of the judge's and court's time are prepared by lawyers, and for you to dismiss that work as, 'sign up clients, file the paperwork and wait for the insurance company to fork over the settlement,' is ridiculous and sophomorically derivative.

I'm not the biggest fan of lawyers, but I cannot let ignorance like this go unchallenged.

By: yogiman on 3/28/11 at 10:07

Unfortunately, Mike, too many poor people are poor by choice. Mostly being too darn lazy to work, especially when they are on welfare. The children of those are the ones to be pitied.

I do agree with assisting those who justifiably need it through no fault of their own.

By: JohnGalt on 3/28/11 at 10:25

"Care to make any more blatant mischaracterizations John?"

Yes. Antisocial actually has a brain.

By: dargent7 on 3/28/11 at 10:30

AntiS: Watch tv lately? All these "injury lawyers" are advertising, showing clients who were awarded $350k-$500k and up dancing, getting married, singing.
They have paralegals do the paperwork, file, and hope and pray the insurance co. settles out of court. They even say in their ads, "We usually don't even go to trial".
And they all paint the ins. cos. as the rip-off artists.
Sickening, vulgar display of blatant ambulance chasing.
Should be outlawed like cigarette commercials were. At least cigarette ads are better for your health.

By: Antisocialite on 3/28/11 at 10:34

"Care to make any more blatant mischaracterizations John?"

Yes. Antisocial actually has a brain.

JohnGalt everybody, master debater...

Come at me with something substantial next time you Ayn Randite POS.

By: revo-lou on 3/28/11 at 10:34

Anti, you are wasting your time with Galt, as he has no clue of the workings of the world.

By: brrrrk on 3/28/11 at 10:35

Mike Burch said

Jesus Christ said 'Suffer the little children to come unto me,' not to cause them to suffer.

The scripture has changed. It's now "Suffer the little children to come unto me, as long as their insurance premiums are paid in full and they have no pre-existing condition". Amen.

By: brrrrk on 3/28/11 at 10:40

Antisocialite said

"Come at me with something substantial next time you Ayn Randite POS."

SNAP!!! LOL.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/28/11 at 11:48

Good morning….just made it.

http://www.outdoorswallpaper.com/images/wmwallpapers/Caribbean-sunrise-1.jpeg

By: Captain Nemo on 3/28/11 at 11:51

Made be Haslam and his bill will turn Tennessee blue again.

By: dargent7 on 3/28/11 at 12:04

The only thing about Tennessee that will ever be 'Blue" is it's balls.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/28/11 at 12:20

I think that the GOP will start to piss people off and the worst is that the conservatives will not come out to vote and the tea bags will not matter.

By: govskeptic on 3/28/11 at 12:51

Tenn Juries are very mild in awards given out in most cases where
they find fault. Medical Malpractice cases are virtually impossible
to even bring in to court in this state. A plaintiff must show most
vital points and damages to the court before these type cases are
even allowed to be tried by jury. Lawyer are hard to find in these cases,
unlike auto accident, bankruptsy, and social security denials.
The Governor's proposals may be appropriate for a state like New York,
but is unfair to the injuried as well as unnecessary here!

By: Captain Nemo on 3/28/11 at 1:00

I agree govskeptic, so why is Haslam behind the Tennessee Civil Justice Act of 2011?

Who would benefit from this?

By: Antisocialite on 3/28/11 at 1:56

dargent7 said:
AntiS: Watch tv lately? All these "injury lawyers" are advertising, showing clients who were awarded $350k-$500k and up dancing, getting married, singing.
They have paralegals do the paperwork, file, and hope and pray the insurance co. settles out of court. They even say in their ads, "We usually don't even go to trial".

I understand where you are coming from dargent7, and like I said I have no love for many lawyers, but of course lawyers are going to use the largest settlements in their advertisements... the whole point of advertising is to drive more people into their office, and you don't normally do that by saying how little you get on an average case. The 'We usually don't even go to trial,' line is another advertising gimmick (whether true or not). Trials have a very negative connotation in our society so telling a potential client that they will be saved the hassle and time of a trial is an effective advertising method. In other words, advertisements don't always reflect reality (GASP!). Let me refer you to govskeptic's recent comment:

Tenn Juries are very mild in awards given out in most cases where
they find fault. Medical Malpractice cases are virtually impossible
to even bring in to court in this state. A plaintiff must show most
vital points and damages to the court before these type cases are
even allowed to be tried by jury. Lawyer are hard to find in these cases,
unlike auto accident, bankruptsy, and social security denials.
The Governor's proposals may be appropriate for a state like New York,
but is unfair to the injuried as well as unnecessary here!

By: house_of_pain on 3/28/11 at 2:15

This just in, from the Off-topic Division...
The NCP Habitual Posters Group meets at 11:30 on Sundays, at Star Bagel.
That is all.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/28/11 at 2:26

I will try to be there. Ware your Mickey Mouse hat so I will know you. ;-)

By: Captain Nemo on 3/28/11 at 2:30

Or wear your Mickey Ears

By: house_of_pain on 3/28/11 at 2:32

d7 has that covered, Nemo.

By: dargent7 on 3/28/11 at 2:45

Star Bagel is at 46th and Murphy Rd.
Please, some more people turn out. House and I are running out of things to talk about.
If you bring your own mug, coffee is only $1.40.
By Fri. pm, tell us what you'll be wearing so we know it's you and not an undercover cop.
Oh, and no weapons.

By: brrrrk on 3/28/11 at 3:00

dargent7 said

"Oh, and no weapons."

What!! I can't bring my cream cheese gun?!?!

By: house_of_pain on 3/28/11 at 3:08

"No outside cream cheese. Thank you." -the Management

By: yogiman on 3/28/11 at 3:36

Please explain, what do you mean by weapon?

By: dargent7 on 3/28/11 at 3:55

We only have several Rules:
No video/ recording devices.
No cross-dressing (Nemo) or in drag (yogi).
No foul language.
No Republicans or FOX News adherents.
No men dressed as women, as we encourage real women to join.

By: house_of_pain on 3/28/11 at 3:58

"No foul language."
lol

By: yogiman on 3/28/11 at 5:17

Sorry, reckon I gotta stay home. I know I couldn't sit and have a pleasant conversation and a cup of coffee with you guys? on a Sunday.

By: judyboodo@yahoo.com on 3/28/11 at 6:54

It wasn't long ago that lawyers and doctors couldn't advertise. Seems a return to those days would solve some problems.

By: yogiman on 3/28/11 at 8:15

That was before so much competition came into effect.

By: serr8d on 3/30/11 at 7:27

As if anyone didn't know it already, Tennessee Citizen Action is just another left-wing crackerjack organization set up to forward the agenda of dirty socialists in Tennessee.

Mary Mancini ( http://twitter.com/marymancini ) was a foul talk show host for the failed Liberadio (why is it that all these lefties can't seem to get people to listen to their crap on the radio? Remember Air America?). Before her time, in 2004, Tennessee Citizen (VOTER FRAUD!) Action hired a person to 'register the dead' to vote for Democrats in Davidson County...

State investigates Metro voter fraud

By Craig Boerner, cboerner@nashvillecitypaper.com
September 28, 2004

About 200 "citizens" who don't exist registered to vote in Davidson County for the Nov. 2 presidential election and now the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is investigating the person who submitted those forms on behalf of Tennessee Citizen Action (TCA).

The false cards are believed to be the work of a temporary employee hired by Tennessee Citizen Action, a consumer advocacy group working to push voter registration. Voter registration fraud is a felony.

TBI spokesperson Jennifer Johnson confirmed Monday that District Attorney General Torry Johnson asked her department last week to investigate the incident and that investigation is ongoing.

"Believe it or not, we work [voter fraud] cases all of the time," Johnson said. "Every single one is different but even since I have been here, in the last month and a half, we have worked other voter fraud cases in other towns.

"Sometimes it is as simple as somebody thinking that a ballot box has been contaminated to something more elaborate."

The TCA employee in question, whose name has not been released, was fired immediately after Metro Election Commission staff members discovered the false cards. The person was being paid by the hour and not per registration.

Mancini's twitter feed is filled with far-left pro-union and pro-Democrat bitterness.

So, anything she says or supports has to be read with the knowledge that she is NOT a friend of businesses of any sort; instead, her mindset puts her at odds with any but far-Left ideologies.

By: yogiman on 3/30/11 at 7:29

All political issues have opponents one their issues. You either like it or you don't. You are either pro or con. You will rarely see an "I don't care" thought on an issue.

By: treehugger7 on 3/30/11 at 7:43

Mary Mancini was a reasonable respected commentator, and is now (and has always been) fighting for rights of people who have no advocates. Cut the ad hominem arguments and just say you disagree with her.

By: treehugger7 on 3/30/11 at 7:45

PS: There is nothing "dirty" about being a liberal or even a socialist (not that I am suggesting she is). Grow up and get a heart!

By: gdiafante on 3/30/11 at 8:16

That's not serr8d's style. He's a hit and run troll. Nothing more.

By: Moonglow1 on 3/30/11 at 8:25

Moonglow1: socialism is more humane than this bunch of fanatical & ignorant group of Republicans who are taking away the rights of the middle class so that corporations can thrive. But what are corporation? They provide products or services. So don't purchase anything from them. For example, I never shop at WalMart. Put them & other corporations right out of business. Take their power away. And no we do not need malpractice caps. This is another take away from the middle class to give to the corporations. What else is new. These Republicans are so tiresome but also dangerous to the middle class. Vote them out.

By: serr8d on 3/30/11 at 8:41

Liberals and neo-socialists are enemies of businesses. Why do you think that so many manufacturers have left this nation for more business-friendly climes? I've no use for the far-left; Democrats weren't always so anti-capitalist and free markets. They've learned how to raid and rob the treasury to buy votes from moochers; they court voters with Other People's Monies; they don't care that what they are doing is promulgating a 'designed decline' of this once-great nation.

And yes, Mary Mancini is just another one in that crowd; I'm pleased to be across the aisle from here and her ilk.

http://serr8d.blogspot.com/2011/03/tennessee-citizen-action-starring-mary.html

By: brrrrk on 3/30/11 at 11:01

serr8d said

"Liberals and neo-socialists are enemies of businesses."

Interesting considering that the more "socialist" (as YOU would call them) Western European and Scandinavian countries are kicking our economic asses. Germany and France are consistently two of the highest exporters of manufactured goods with Germany even out exporting that power house, China; and together, Germany and France kick China's exporting ass. Sorry, ser.... your ideology is not supported by the facts. Every major country that is currently having crippling financial issues can trace their problems directly back to Reagan/Thatcher economics and the free-market myth.

By: Mike Burch on 3/30/11 at 12:14

Yogiman, I was talking about children. No child is poor by choice. Yes, many adults make bad choices, but should society penalize children for their parents' mistakes?

Where in the Bible did God, Jesus or a Hebrew prophet ever say it was okay for us to allow children to suffer because their parents were lazy?

I think adults who are able to work should be required to work for the state if they can't or won't find jobs in private industry. They could clean government buildings, file, type, answer phones, pick up trash, etc. I am not in favor of handing out public assistance to adults carte blanch. But if we don't have the compassion and wisdom to help children, something is wrong with both our hearts and our brains.

Mike

By: AmyLiorate on 3/30/11 at 12:24

I actually agree with Mancini on this issue. Because when you place the cap, there should be a process to allow for an individual who is seriously harmed to be able to break that cap if the circumstances justify it.

Metro place a cap on what it would pay. Next thing you know NES has a transformer blow up and burned a woman almost to death. Her medical bills quickly became higher than Metro's cap on what they would pay for!

I don't agree with Mary on this part
". It will not make Tennessee more competitive. Nor will it make Tennessee more attractive to large corporations that, in place of jury awards, will grace us with gobs of jobs. It is widely known that Tennessee juries do not dole out excessive jury awards."

If she had bothered to attend the 577 meeting there was very good evidence presented on how another state benefited almost immediately from capping lawsuits. Particularly in the medical field and also in major manufacturing.

By: yogiman on 3/30/11 at 12:51

I agree, Mike. A child isn't poor by choice, and unfortunately, they also have no choice of whom they can pick for their parents.

Regrettably, it is our society of today that places the parents a a true image for the child of that person

Fortunately, everyone is born with a different brain which influences our ways of thought. I have known many children that have taken it on themselves to lead a different life from their parents and become very successful.

On the other hand, I've also known some good, successful parents who wound up with children they were ashamed of.

By: Moonglow1 on 3/30/11 at 9:09

Moonglow1: to serr8d. Take the case of General Electric. This company paid NO US TAXES last year & received a $3 billion dollar refund from the US gov't. What did US workers get in return. Nothing: GE brings "good things to life" in China. So you are very misinformed regarding liberals. And you should know that the first ones in line for gov't contracts are Republican controlled companies like Hallibuton. Here is the deal: scare the public, pass laws that benefit corporations, get an X-fed to run your company & keep
the $$$ flowing. While the public fights about climate change the Republicans are laughing all the way to the bank which they bailed out using your money.

By: yogiman on 3/30/11 at 11:37

Moonglow1,

Please don't blame the Republicans as the fault of our nation of today. Blame it all on the career politicians in DC. They are all in each party by name only. They promise they are going to DC for US, but then what happens when they get there? The vast amjority of them are 'bought out'.

I understand the vote next Tuesday will tell us which ones of the "new" congress we can consider believing... currently.