Reproduced here are some excerpts of recent mail and web page communications
from the Association of Trial Lawyers of America.
1999 Membership Letter:
"ATLA members are the 56,000 men and women who are changing
the face of trial law in America. As a member of ATLA, you will
have regular opportunities to meet and network with these respected
and influential leaders no mater whether your field is motor vehicle
collision, family law, commercial litigation, products liability,
medical negligence, criminal lawor another legal discipline.
Since our founding in 1946, ATLA has led the fight for civil justice
and for the rights of injured persons. For over 50 years, ATLA has
been a powerful voice for positive change. And that mission has
never been more important than it is today. Why?
Because America's 200-year-old system of civil justice is today
in grave peril due expressly to the well-financed campaigns of the
A capsule summary of even only a few of the issues that ATLA faced
and won during the recently adjourned One Hundred and Fifth Congress
provides a glimpse of what's at stake. Here's a sample of what ATLA,
working with trial lawyers in all parts of the country, accomplished
over the past twenty-two months:
- Defeated the so-called product liability "reform"
bill on the Senate Floor. This was a bill that would have preempted
state law and seriously limited the liability of manufacturers
and sellers of defective products.
- Stopped the advance of the "auto choice"
bill, a national automobile no-fault proposal that would have
federalized both insurance law and tort law and made it virtually
impossible to bring a civil action for non-economic loss against
a negligent or reckless driver.
- Successfully prevented final passage of Commerce
Committee-approved provisions in the Amtrak bill that would have
capped non-economic and punitive damages in individual cases arising
from passenger rail accidents.
- Stopped a bill in both the House and Senate that
would have made virtually all class actions removable to federal
- Worked to successfully eliminate drastic medical
malpractice tort "reform" from the fiscal 1998 Budget
Reconciliation bill and the fiscal 1998 District of Columbia Appropriations
bill. The House-passed version of both of these bills had included,
among other limits, a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages in
health care liability actionseven including product liability
actions against the manufacturers of drugs and medical devices.
- Twice defeated attempts to break a filibuster
against the "Volunteer Protection Act" in the Senate;
successfully preventing passage of that bill until all provisions
in it granting liability relief to charitable and non-profit organizations
Again, that's only a sample of ATLA's efforts on Capitol Hill during
1997 and 1998. And guess what? Many of these issues will be back
again in 1999. Certainly, the automobile no-fault bill and the class
action bill will be high on the agenda, as will matters not even
mentioned abovelimits on plaintiff attorneys' fees, and a
proposal to establish a federal administrative scheme for asbestos
Who will these and similar tort "reform" issues affect
when Congress addresses get enacted in even one area, no area of
the law will be safe.
For over 50 years, ATLA has fought tirelessly and successfully
to protect all areas of tort law and to safeguard the rights of
"Keep our Families Safe"
"Thank you for visiting ATLA's "Keep Our Families Safe"
site and taking the time to understand what's at stake when individuals
and corporations disregard the health and safety of our families.
Now you can help us keep up the good fight.
The key to ensuring that policymakers and politicians keep our
families' safety foremost in mind is: Your stories. Nothing shows
the benefits of American civil justice better. By sharing your stories
and cases with us, we can continue safeguarding the laws and policies
that protect our families.
We are looking for any story relating to child or family safety.
Do you know of a toy on the market that you feel is dangerous? What
practices or products have been changed because of your or someone
else's actions? If it pertains to families or children, we want
Please take a few moments and let us know your story. America's
families will be glad you did. email: firstname.lastname@example.org."
Big Apple Pothole & Sidewalk Protection Committee (from the
New York State Trial Lawyers' site):
"Since 1982, Big Apple Pothole & Sidewalk Protection Committee
has provided New York City with the legally required written notice
of sidewalk, curb and crosswalk defects in the five boroughs of
New York. Thorough and professional searches save attorneys countless
hours in preparing their clients' cases. Every year, Big Apple provides
hundreds of customers with completed searches, enabling attorneys
to go forward with their cases.
Attorneys using Big Apple's services are provided (usually within
48 hours) with accurate information, two clear and legible maps
and our assistance down the road should you need it. Big Apple is
able to support its findings by testifying in court."