gavel.gif (3462 bytes) President's Message

David L. Lutz
is of the Harrisburg firm of Angino and Rovner, P.C.

     It is a very dangerous time for our clients. On March 13, the U.S. House of Representatives, by a vote of 229-196, passed H.R.5, a draconian insurance industry-backed bill that would preempt state law, including a $250,000 cap. The real fight begins in the U.S. Senate. In Harrisburg, there are reports that the doctors may strike in an effort to push S.B. 50, seeking to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to permit the General Assembly to cap damages.
Thanks to all members who have helped us to implement the components of our current Public Relations campaign. Here is a rundown of what PaTLA has been doing and will continue to do to fight for our clients and how you can get involved. Remember, this legislation will impact on all of our clients, whether they are victims of medical malpractice, auto accidents, or other serious injuries.
As you can guess, our efforts are extensive and costly. We expect this fight to be a long one. The only way we can prevail is to prepare for a long fight. This takes resources, hard work, and cooperation, but most of all it requires money�your money. Please be generous when your peers approach you for contributions to fund this campaign. PaTLA�s message is simple:
� Caps on jury verdicts are unfair. 
� Medical errors do threaten patient safety.
� The insurance industry is broken and must be fixed. 

1. Paid-for media: Television
Although expensive, PaTLA must be on TV. Television spots featuring heart-wrenching client stories were produced in January 2003 and will run soon. Victims themselves told their stories, effectively demonstrating that real injuries do occur to real people, and that caps are unfair.

2. Paid-for media: Radio
Costly, yes; effective, yes. A series of stories told by victims is running on stations throughout the state. They feature real people telling real stories. Listeners will conclude that severe injuries do occur, and caps take away victims� rights.

3. Paid-for media: Billboards
All over the state, pro-consumer billboards are appearing. The message: The proposed legislation is unfair; caps deny justice to all. 

4. Free media: Letters to the editor
Many members express their opinions in the media. If you need talking points including our new �Damage Caps Talking Points,� or background information, please contact PaTLA�s Publications/Communications Department ([email protected]). 

5. Presence at public hearings
In Washington, D.C. and in Pennsylvania, legislators are holding hearings about the need for legislation that will take away our clients� rights. PaTLA is there. Members, consultants, and staffers are spending numerous hours each day locating clients who can attend these hearings. Many of these hearings are shams, held at hospitals with no advance public notice. While victims are not always invited to testify, PaTLA is making sure that clients are in the audience so that legislators can see the real damage that real victims suffer. PaTLA members attending hearings have their clients talk to the media.

6. PaTLA Legislative Network
Our clients are holding private meetings with their legislators. PaTLA continues to maximize member and constituent connections for this effort. If you haven�t already told PaTLA which legislators you know, please contact the Membership Department ([email protected]). If you recently met with a legislator or have scheduled a meeting, please contact us. 

7. Direct lobbying
PaTLA has assembled the best team of lobbyists anywhere. They are working inside the Capitol seven days a week to preserve clients� rights.

8. Rallies
Volunteers, clients, consultants, and staff are mounting at least two large demonstrations to give life to our message.

9. Allies
Many groups support our clients and future clients. PaTLA is strengthening alliances with many consumer groups, such as Citizens for Consumer Justice, MADD, AARP, and organized labor. We urge you to give generously when these allies ask you for support.

10. Legislator alert: Case studies
Case studies of victims demonstrate our message in real terms to legislators. These cases are prepared with color photos and are sent to the entire Pa. Legislature and our U.S. Senators on a regular basis. PaTLA officer Beth Lazzara is collecting cases; contact her at [email protected].

11. PaTLA Friends and Family Program
The foundation of our letter-writing campaigns is Friends and Family. Every member firm should contact [email protected] to learn how to easily add legislative districts to its client database. When we need to quickly mobilize clients in particular districts, we can move swiftly.

12. Letter-writing campaigns
Assorted letter-writing campaigns are in full swing. Members will be asked as the fight goes on to mobilize their clients. Write to editors, write to legislators, write to your clients. Get the message out. Be heard.

13. Editorial board visits
Leaders are barnstorming the state. They are meeting with editors, putting our press kits and messages in their hands. We have already seen great results from many of these visits. We have seen waves of news writers in Pennsylvania and across the country ask if caps are the answer, if doctors are really leaving, if the insurance companies are the culprits.

14. Grassroots lobbying
Through our friends, families, and allies, we spread our message via radio, TV, billboards, letters, brochures, and paid-for advertising.

15. Brochures and posters
Our media consultants are preparing more brochures carrying our message. These brochures will be usable in a multitude of ways.

PaTLA is working 24/7 for you and your clients. How can you add your help? Call, write and visit your elected officials. Have your friends, family and clients do the same. Be generous with your financial support. Our clients are counting on us. 


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