National trial lawyers group responds to USA Today article on jury system

(3/10/2023) -- David Casey, president of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA), has responded to a March 8 page 1 story in the USA Today on the civil justice system. (“Robin Hood is alive in court, say those seeking lawsuit limits,” 3/8/04).

“The effort to take away the legal rights of American families and undermine the authority of our friends, neighbors, and co-workers who do their patriotic duty by serving on citizen juries is a serious threat to our democracy,” Casey wrote in a letter to the editor. “Organizations and politicians funded by the tobacco, insurance, drug, chemical and other industries who want to make it harder for injured people to hold wrongdoers accountable in court falsely want the American people to believe that most lawsuits are ‘frivolous’ and most people who bring them do so hoping to ‘win the lottery,’" he added.

Casey pointed to real-life victims such as Linda McDougal, who certainly did not “win the lottery” when she was mutilated by a double mastectomy as a result of medical malpractice when she didn’t have breast cancer, and Sandra Katada, who lost her daughter, Alexandra, as a result of medical malpractice at the hands of a doctor responsible for the deaths of four babies.  Casey continued: “Did the families injured and killed by defective Firestone tires? Did the shareholders, employees and customers of Enron when the company defrauded them?  Did the asbestos-poisoned employees of W.R. Grace and Halliburton when those companies knowingly exposed them to their lethal product?”

“Irresponsible acts have costs. For more than 200 years our legal system has trusted citizen juries to say who should pay those costs,” wrote Casey. “Do we really want to turn that job over to insurance industry lobbyists and politicians,” he concluded.