Manufacturers are wary of the Legal-Lotto system in the US that can spur class-action lawsuits on behalf of plaintiffs that may not have suffered any ill effects or are ever likely to do so, but they’re included in the class action suit anyway. When a settlement is reached, these “plaintiffs” get pennies, the lawyers get millions. Better products are never even introduced because of a fear of lawsuits. Our Civil Court system has demanded a new barometer for products: 100% Perfect Safety under All Intended and Unintended Uses.
In 2002, class action lawsuits siphoned off $233 billion out of the hands of manufacturers and small business, or 2% of the US GDP. This amounts to $809 for every citizen of the US. In 1970, costs amounted to only 1.3%, and in 1950, only 0.5%. The costs are skyrocketing.
Here are some examples of products not currently available in the US but are available elsewhere in the world:
- Integrated child booster seat in Volvo cars.
- Silicon coatings on hypodermic needles from Japan that would reduce the pain of injections.
- A “safe, biodegradable, and effective reinforcing phosphate fiber” as a substitue for asbestos from Monsanto.
- A portable, suitcase sized dialysis machine from Union Carbide.
- An alarm for hot tubs that would warn if the cover was lifted from Sunstar.
The costs of asbestos litigation is now expected to reach $200 billion. More than the Northridge, CA earthquake, Hurricane Andrew, and the September 11 terrorist attacks combined. Medical malpractice insurance premiums are causing doctors to quit their practice across the country. Obstetricians seem especially hard hit – at the average of 100 babies a year and a malpractice premium of $200,000 annually, each woman / employer / insurance company / government must pay $2000 just for the insurance alone.
The American Trial Lawyers Association maintain that there is no crisis.
The entire article at the Manhattan Institute is fascinating, morbid reading.
This just in: John Edwards and Ralph Nader made their fortunes as class-action lawyers.