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Commonweal Institute's website
The Attack on Trial Lawyers and Tort Law
A Commonweal Institute Report
David C. Johnson, Fellow
October 1, 2003
325 Sharon Park Drive, Suite 332
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Copyright © 2003 by Commonweal Institute, Inc.
"With Republicans in charge of much of Washington - and moving to put limits on litigation - the headquarters of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA) could be described as a building under siege. [. . .] ATLA lobbyists are fighting a wave of legislation aimed at capping what juries can award, curbing class-action suits, and protecting individual industries from litigation. Similar bills are getting passed in states, and even attorneys themselves are piling on - filing petitions to limit plaintiff lawyers' fees.
At the offices of ATLA, chief lobbyist Linda Lipsen insists the atmosphere has been hostile to their interests since Republicans took control of the House in 1994. Yet the lawyers Ms. Lipsen represents smell a new brand of retribution.
'If you cut the legs off the trial lawyers, then you significantly weaken the Democratic Party, and that's what this is all about,' says Jeff Wigington, product liability lawyer from Corpus Christi, Texas, who recently won a $225 million suit against the Ford Motor Co.
In the trial-lawyer headquarters at ATLA, Lipsen, the organization's chief lobbyist, points out that they have only three lobbyists fighting for the 'freedom' of individual Americans from limits on their rights against 80 lobbyists on the other side. Not that a group representing the nation's fiercest litigators minds a fight. Lipsen smiles. "We're way up there on their enemy's list." 
- From the article "Now, trial lawyers could use a good lawyer"
Christian Science Monitor, June 10, 2003
This report is also available for download as a PDF file.
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