Your letters, e-mails and phone calls made a difference!

Yesterday, Maryland Del. Luiz Simmons withdrew his bill — HB 110, the Maryland Comparative Negligence Act. MACPA members sent hundreds of letters and phone calls as we informed our grassroots CPA members about the dangers of this type of legislation.

Article confirms detrimental effects of proposed legislation
An article in the March 9, 2007 edition of the Daily Record by retired judge Steven Platt does a good job analyzing the deep implications of the proposed change in Maryland’s civil justice system that this bill would have done. He confirms what we have seen in the research, “that any change from contributory negligence to comparative fault … will result in some increase in total paid losses as well as increased premiums.”

I have never seen the trial lawyers so intent on passing this legislation than this past year. Just the fact that so many of them were testifying in support shows who stands to gain the most from this type of legislation. The bill was obviously withdrawn under the risk of being voted unfavorably out of committee. The word is that it will be back again next year at an even higher level. We are already working on strategies for next year.

This legislation is also part of the bigger issue of lawsuit abuse, or as some call it, the “lawsuit lottery.” In my days as a CFO for a privately held company in Maryland, we experienced numerous frivolous lawsuits for general liability and other claims. On a personal level, you may have experienced the same in an automobile case. All of these have an extreme cost to our businesses and personal lives as these costs are built into every product or service we buy and the insurance that we all need to purchase. For more on this, visit Maryland Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse.

We continue to watch the Senate version of this bill, SB 267, which is still in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Do you have any stories to share of frivolous lawsuits in which cases have been settled or awarded to plaintiffs who were significantly at fault? Let us know for next year …

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