Lawyers, Lawsuits, and Legal Rights: The Battle over Litigation in American Society
Lawsuits over coffee burns, playground injuries, even bad teaching: litigation "horror stories" create the impression that Americans are greedy, quarrelsome, and sue-happy. The truth, as this book makes clear, is quite different. What Thomas Burke describes in Lawyers, Lawsuits, and Legal Rights is a nation not of litigious citizens, but of litigious policies—laws that promote the use of litigation in resolving disputes and implementing public policies. This book is a cogent account of how such policies have come to shape public life and everyday practices in the United States.
As litigious policies have proliferated, so have struggles to limit litigation—and these struggles offer insight into the nation's court-centered public policy style. Burke focuses on three cases: the effort to block the Americans with Disabilities Act; an attempt to reduce accident litigation by creating a no-fault auto insurance system in California; and the enactment of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Act. These cases suggest that litigious policies are deeply rooted in the American constitutional tradition. Burke shows how the diffuse, divided structure of American government, together with the anti-statist ethos of American political culture, creates incentives for political actors to use the courts to address their concerns. The first clear and comprehensive account of the national politics of litigation, his work provides a new way to understand and address the "litigiousness" of American society.
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THE CREATION OF A LITIGIOUS POLICY The Americans with Disabilities Act
A FAILED ANTILITIGATION EFFORT The Struggle over NoFault Auto Insurance in California
A SHOT OF ANTILITIGATION REFORM The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
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administration agencies American politics antilitigation efforts antilitigation reforms argued ATLA auto insurance Bill Lockyer bureaucratic Bush Calif California campaign Civil Justice Civil Rights Act claimants claims coalition Committee compensation program Congress Consumers Union costs created criticized CTLA damages decision defendants Democrats disability activists disability rights disability rights movement discrimination disputes DPT vaccine drivers enforcement Evan Kemp example federal fund Ibid implementation independent living Interview issues Johnston bill Journal judicial jury Latino Law Review lawsuits legislative liability litigation debate litigious policies Lockyer medical malpractice ment movement Nader National no-fault auto insurance no-fault system pain-and-suffering parents percent personal injury plaintiff lawyers policy makers problem Product Liability proposals public policy Ralph Nader Reagan regulations replacement reforms Republicans rights model Section 504 Senate social Superfund tion tort law tort litigation tort reform tort system trial lawyers United Vaccine Injury Vaccine Injury Compensation vote Washington Waxman
Page 24 - Anyone who believes a better day dawns when lawyers are eliminated bears the burden of explaining who will take their place. Who will protect the poor, the injured, the victims of negligence, the victims of racial discrimination and the victims of racial violence?