Job-friendly. Attractive for business. Improved job climate.
Overwhelmingly positive buzzwords on their face, yet when combined with gubernatorial candidate Kenny Hulshof’s continuing tirade against Missouri’s trial attorneys as he calls for destruction of the Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan and attacks our right to a trial by jury, these otherwise upbeat phrases become a disguise for leaving wrongdoers accountable to no one.
“Justice, or lack thereof in this instance, should not be an economic development tool,” said Lynn Henry, President of the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys (MATA). “Education, tax policy, infrastructure and other economic development tools should be used for economic development. If a business is tempted to locate here because we have laws on the books that allow them to get away with harming our consumers and workers, how does that benefit any of us?”
In fact, Henry says the tactics employed by Congressman Hulshof mirror those continually trotted out by U.S. Chamber and its “Institute for Legal Reform (ILR)” to demonize trial attorneys and the civil justice system. By urging the public to buy into the plans for false reforms with slogans like “stop lawsuit abuse,” politicians pandering to large corporate interests are actually asking Missourians to give up their rights to hold wrongdoers accountable.
“These folks advocating radical change are waving around a study claiming Missouri’s legal system is one of the nation’s worst, but what they don’t tell you is that the study is a national sample of in-house general counsel or other senior corporate litigators,” said Henry. “The U.S. Chamber and ILR which do this study haven’t polled victims or judges or other attorneys or juries, so their perception might be more than a little skewed.”
Congressman Hulshof’s plan for legislative changes to the justice system and gutting the Missouri Plan seems merely to be an extension of Gov. Matt Blunt’s bad policies. These proposals remove accountability for those who would do harm to Missouri’s families and workers, said Sara Schuett, Executive Director of the MATA.
In regard to the Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan, Congressman Hulshof calls for increasing the number of nominees from three to five and allowing a sitting governor two full-panel vetoes before ultimately allowing that governor to choose whomever he wants, pending senate approval. The plan he would change is a model for dozens of other states and provides for the least amount of politics in the process.
“Just last session the Missouri House - in a bipartisan effort - rejected making harmful changes similar to those proposed by Congressman Hulshof to the Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan,” said Schuett. “It wasn’t a good idea then and it’s not a good idea now.”
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Trial Attorneys label Hulshof court plan a blank check for corporate interests
In a news release issued today, the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys (MATA) labeled Republican gubernatorial candidate Kenny Hulshof's court plan a blank check for corporate interests. The news release reads: