This was a great week for big insurance and big business in the Minnesota Senate Judiciary Committee. Here was the Minnesota Justice response:
So Called ‘Reforms’ Put Consumer, Small Business Rights at Risk
Package of bills moving through the legislature are a gift to insurance & big business just in time for fundraising season
ST. PAUL, MN – In the last four weeks of the legislative session, just before the political fundraising season, legislators are moving swiftly to pass a package of bills that will have a devastating effect on consumers’ and small businesses’ ability to seek justice. Sponsored by big insurance and big business special interest in the form of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Minnesota’s legislators are introducing cookie-cutter bills written in D.C. and claiming them as their own.
“On the heels of the biggest economic downturn since the depression—fueled by fraudulent business practices which robbed Minnesota’s hardworking, honest consumers of their houses, jobs and pensions—our legislature wants to reward these wrongdoers by passing legislation that will allow companies to cheat consumers; hurt small businesses by shifting costs to private health insurers and remove Minnesotan’s constitutional right to remedy when harmed by negligent wrongdoers and fraudulent business practices,” said Jim Carey, President of the Minnesota Association for Justice.
Carey added, “We have heard a lot about the constitution this session, but you can’t pick which parts of the constitution you like and which parts you don’t. These reform efforts are unreasonable, unfair and unconstitutional.”
Two so called ‘reform’ bills that reward the wrongdoer:
SF 149/HF 211 would eliminate the ability of consumers and business to hold companies accountable for fraudulent and deceptive acts and dramatically changes Minnesota’s long standing consumer protection legislation.
SF 373/HF 654 would rob innocent victims, including victims of sexual violence of the time they need to recover for the damages they suffered.
Reacting to the fanfare sponsors of the legislation attempted to create at a press conference today, Carla Ferrucci, executive director of Minnesota Association for Justice, said the proposed changes in law are “frivolous ‘reform’ bills with pithy titles, flimsy facts and obscure the truth about the civil justice system.” She went on to say that “if the bill sponsors were truthful they would admit that personal injury and medical malpractice case filings have gone down 40% in the last decade; Minnesota the lowest medical malpractice premiums in the country; Minnesota’s auto insurance premiums have gone down approximately 14% since 2003 and, our court rules and procedures are the envy of the every other state in the country. Indeed, concerned Minnesotans will surely wonder why these bills are being brought forward. The only reasonable conclusion is to reward big insurance and big business at the expense of working families.”
Ferrucci said it is imperative that Minnesotans understand just how drastically these proposals will affect the rights of consumers and small business to obtain justice when unscrupulous business come into our state and prey on senior citizens and other vulnerable communities. “Cleary, Minnesotans need to let their legislators know that these are not reforms; they are protectionist laws that will enable an unregulated insurance industry to charge excessive premiums and encourage bad businesses to operate freely in Minnesota,” she added.
The Minnesota Association for Justice (MAJ) is a professional association of attorneys who represent Minnesotans wrongfully harmed or injured in person, property or human rights. MAJ defends the rights guaranteed by the Constitutions and laws of the United States and Minnesota, foremost among them the right to a trial by jury and advocates for public policy to enhance consumer rights and protection.
A founding partner with Bradshaw & Bryant, Mike Bryant has always fought to find justice for his clients—knowing that legal troubles, both personal injury and criminal, can be devastating for a family. Voted a Top 40 Personal Injury "Super Lawyer" multiple years, Mr. Bryant has also been voted one of the Top 100 Minnesota "Super Lawyers" four times.