Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Monday, February 11, 2013

Make no mistake -- ALEC still at work in AZ

It would undoubtedly be a full time job for one or more persons to get a handle on all of the ALEC model legislation that has been introduced in the Arizona Legislature thus far in 2013. I do not have the luxury of focusing that attention and effort on such a project. But I did just run across a key piece of legislation that clearly is an effort by ALEC (a UNION of lawmakers and lobbyists/BIG Business) to erode the rights of Arizona citizens as guaranteed in our state constitution.

SB1452 -- Class Action Lawsuits is nearly a verbatim copy of ALECs Class Action Improvements Act.

Specific language in SB1452 includes:
The court shall not certify an action as a class action unless, on the basis of a full record on the relevant issues, the proponents offer clear and convincing evidence that the action complies with all the requirements for certification.  If the court doubts whether this burden has been met, the court shall deny the class certification.  The court shall decertify a class action on any showing that an action has ceased to meet the applicable prerequisites for maintaining a class action...
Quoting from the ALEC model bill:
A court shall not certify that an action may be maintained as a class action unless, on the basis of a full record on the relevant issues, the proponents proffer clear and convincing evidence that the action complies with all requirements for such certification. Any doubt as to whether this burden has been met shall be resolved in favor of denying class certification. The court shall decertify a class action upon any showing that an action has ceased to satisfy the applicable prerequisites for maintaining the case as a class action.
 From the Center for Media and Democracy:
This bill greatly limits class action lawsuits, a major vehicle for confronting a large corporation’s widespread practices that cause injury or are discriminatory. In particular, this bill specifies that class actions can only be maintained if the plaintiffs are not seeking any money. (see Section 2(b)(2)). It also makes it much more difficult to maintain a class action if it involves plaintiffs from multiple states, and adds a series of other presumptions against the maintenance of the class. This bill would have the effect of protecting large manufacturers of goods and large service providers from liability.

This “model” bill seeks to replace state statutes and judicial decisions to make it more difficult for Americans to file and maintain class action lawsuits in state courts. The ability to file a class action can help individual Americans aggregate and strengthen their case and leverage in claims against corporations whose products or actions have injured multiple people. Through this legislation, corporations are trying to consolidate gains they have made in the federal court system under judges that are often selected from law firms that have primarily represented corporate defendants and not injured plaintiffs. In so doing, this proposed legislation seeks to supplant state procedures and rulings that may be more sympathetic to injured Americans than the federal system. Among other things, the proposed bill attempts to limit the ability of a state court to handle a class action that involves citizens of its own state along with citizens of other states who have been injured or killed by products sold nationally. This aids companies and limits injured Americans’ rights.
Crafty Big Business UNIONISTS* (not to be confused with labor unions) and the lawmakers they fancy KNOW they cannot come outright to eliminate the rights specifically enumerated in the Arizona Constitution:
Section 31. No law shall be enacted in this state limiting the amount of damages to be recovered for causing the death or injury of any person...
So they nibble away at the edges when (they hope) nobody's looking. Like during a regular session (which thus far has had 1,212 bills, resolutions and memorials filed for consideration by the 51st Legislature).

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Lest one forget, in 2011, Susan Saladoff produced and directed the documentary movie HOT COFFEE. Saladoff practiced law for twenty-five years in the civil justice system representing victims of corporate negligence.




If you haven't seen HOT COFFEE yet, you REALLY must. It's available on Netflix and the DVD can be purchased through Amazon. This video clip is only one segment of the documentary.

Alas, ALEC is still alive and active in Arizona.

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* Unionist:
un·ion·ist  (yny-nst)
n.
1. One who believes in or supports a union or unionism.
2. A member of a labor or trade union.
3. Unionist One loyal to the federal government during the Civil War.

Well, we are no longer engaged in THE Civil War, so usage 3 doesn't apply. We're not talking about trade unions, so usage 2 doesn't apply.

So, it must be usage 1. For further insight
An organization whose membership consists of workers and union leaders, [is] united to protect and promote their common interests.

MAKE NO MISTAKE -- ALEC is THE Big Business UNION, united to protect ITS interests, at YOUR expense.


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