Oregon Senate Dems pass bill to line pockets of trial lawyers

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Oregon Senate Republicans

HB 2700 lines pockets of trial lawyers at the expense of Oregon schools –┬átrial lawyers who gave over $300K to Dem campaigns in Oregon this past election

Salem, OR – Today, Senate Democrats passed a partisan bill lining the pockets of trial lawyers at the expense of Oregon schools. Despite admitting the bill needed “further review,” Democrats insisted on fast-tracking HB 2700 through the legislative process without allowing a single amendment.

Senate Republicans introduced a minority report that would have aligned Oregon’s class action rules with that of the federal government and a majority of other states while dedicating unclaimed awards from class action lawsuits to domestic violence and family law legal aid programs. It failed on a party-line vote.

“If Democrats were serious about class action reform, they wouldn’t have designed a bill that changes the rules in the middle of the game,” said Senator Jeff Kruse (R-Roseburg). “Not only does this bill create uncertainty in our legal system, it jeopardizes $140 million in Lottery funds that would otherwise go to Oregon schools.

HB 2700 redefines a class as it relates to a class action lawsuit, requiring the suit to “generally describe” the members of the class and leading to the inclusion of large groups that don’t legally have claim to any payout. This exponentially increases class action award amounts, increasing legal fees and lining the pockets of trial lawyers without helping a single victim. The bill also retroactively applies to any class actions that have not yet been given final judgment, allowing trial lawyers to take a larger payout from cases that have already been tried.

“One month into the session, there have already been clear winners and losers,” explained Senator Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River). “Democrat leaders have prioritized bills that benefit trial lawyers and anti-car activists at the expense of working Oregon families. It’s time the legislature turns to the real work of creating jobs and increasing educational opportunities for all Oregonians.”

Senate Republicans expressed concern that unclaimed funds from class action lawsuits could be allocated to unspecified ‘entities’ for political purposes, including Political Action Committees. They noted that trial lawyers, the biggest beneficiaries of HB 2700, gave over $300,000 to Democrat campaigns in Oregon this past election cycle.

“Democrats want to change the rules of the game as payback to trial lawyers, who spend large amounts to fund their election campaigns,” said Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day). “This is not the Oregon way.”

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Posted by at 05:05 | Posted in OR 78th Legislative Session, Oregon Senate | 12 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Quigley

    Trail lawyers are not bad. In fact, it was a trial lawyer who sued and got me back pay from a job I took family leave from. They refused to pay me past three months, but I still had to help out around the house, so I stayed home for another two months. He got me all the back pay…and if my wife gets pregnant again I will take even more time off…with pay, of course, as now they can not ever deny me again…double jeopardy or something like that according to him.
    Anyway, thanks to him I am free to help out around the house with each new child and get paid at the same time for work I can’t do as I am at home.

  • .

    “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves”, Quigley, et al, Cher-ished clients for public trough defense annoyers.

  • HBguy

    Juries decide on damages. Do you not trust juries?
    Do you expect plaintiff lawyers to work for free?
    Should the corporate lawyers have to pay back all their salaries and payment that the defendants make to them if they lose?
    Should corporate wrongdoers who rip off the public get to keep their ill gotten booty if they can make sure victims can’t be identified?
    The GOP could have sought amendments to the bill that could have improved it and addressed some of its weaknesses. Instead, they tried to kill it because it wasn’t about fixing it, it was about making sure their financiers didn’t have to pay damages, and to prevent their political enemies (trial lawyers) from benefitting any way they could.
    Fixing this bill to address the real weaknesses would have STILL profited trial attorneys, so it was unacceptable to the GOP.
    That is a failed strategy. And the GOP failed the people of Oregon because we’re now stuck with a bill that does have weaknesses rather than a good bill that benefits all Oregonians just because the GOP foolish strategy.

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