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Minnesota Senate’s Abuse of Consumers (Update)

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The Minnesota Senate Judiciary Committee passed four anti-consumer bills this past week. Proof? Well, the head of the Insurance Federation was gushing:

Bob Johnson, the president of the Minnesota’s for lawsuit reform called yesterday a “historic” day. “This was better than our best case scenario at the beginning of the session,” he said. “We knew that the Minnesota Association of Justice would strongly oppose these so No, I probably would’t have bet a lot of money on all four passing. Sometimes everything lines up.”

If the Insurance Federation is happy, then the citizens of the state can expect less protection and insurance companies can expect increased profits.

The four bills this week:

- Strip power from local judges by providing for immediate appeals for certain defendants.

- Shorten the statute of limitations to protect those that hurt others in the state.

- Take what was a good change concerning post judgment interest and make it easier for those that have been judged liable for damages to not pay judgments at all.

- Go after attorney fees in certain cases, for no other reason then to attack attorneys. Which will make it harder for people to find representation in those type of cases.

Not a single one of these bills is anything but a big fat gift to companies responsibility for damaging individuals. There is no balance, but pure greed and destruction of the constitutional rights of individual consumers.

Update: Today the full Senate looked at the bills and it was amazing what was said:

Supporters (of the class action bill) said the provision would weed out potentially frivolous lawsuits, but critics argued that measure creates monumental hurdles that will make it difficult for consumers to get compensation when they’ve been harmed.

The proposal will “eviscerate Minnesota’s consumer protection laws,” said Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park. “This is a really bad bill.”

Ortman said that the change merely ensures that potential class-action lawsuits get more scrutiny. It does nothing to snuff out legitimate class-action lawsuits, she said.

“This is a common sense bill,” she said.

So scrutiny means that the Court of Appeals is looking over the courts back and is a bar to getting the case to the Jury. Why in the world do these defendants deserve this extra protection?

and here’s my favorite:

Some Republicans said the change (shortening the statue of limitations) will prevent people from trying to squeeze money out of insurance companies years after an incident.

Sen. Michael Jungbauer, R-East Bethel, said these people “hope you don’t remember what went on, hope you can’t find witnesses.”

“We need to shorten that up,” he added.

Are you kidding me? The plaintiff has the burden to prove their case. The longer time goes by the harder it is to prove the case. The longer time allows people to understand their rights, see what happens with their injuries, and to see if the case can be settled. A shorter time means early need to put cases in suit and more litigation costs.

It really was a sad day for those that claim to be common legislators and supporters of constitutional principles.

A very bad day for the Minnesota Consumer.