ATLA'S TRIAL MAGAZINE TAKES ON TORT REFORM--BUT FOR SUBSCRIBERS ONLY . . . The July issue of Trial magazine is devoted to "the myth of the litigation crisis." Here are some of its articles, along with the summary of each from the magazine--
The gloves are off, by Bill Straub. "For years, tort 'reformers' have disparaged the civil justice system, trial lawyers, and their allies. With facts and history on their side--and no less than Americans' fundamental rights at stake--trial lawyers can and must start hitting back, hard."
Insuring against the next insurance crisis, by Jay Angoff. "Insurance costs are driven not by frivolous lawsuits, greedy plaintiffs, or some other fictitious beast, but by a regular, predictable insurance cycle that swings between market-based extremes. Regulatory reform could smooth the cycle."
Corporate wolves in victims' clothing, by Justinian Lane. "Corporate executives hate lawsuits--except when they're the plaintiffs. These hypocrites blame personal injury litigation for driving up consumer costs, while they rake in million-dollar compensation packages ultimately paid for by consumers."
Straight talk about torts, by Carmel Sileo and David Ratcliff. "Litigation is down, and criminal--not civil--trials are clogging the courts. Statistics and trends reported by government agencies and research organizations confirm these and other truths about civil litigation."
Fighting to end the 'ban litigation' crisis, by Arthur H. Bryant. "Powerful interests are working to deny ordinary citizens access to the courts. Using tactics from mandatory arbitration to federal preemption to bans on class actions, they aim to stamp out consumer rights. These assaults must be thwarted."
The truth about the drug companies, by Marcia Angell. "Many consumers don't realize that drug companies spend far less on research than they claim to and that most of this money goes toward reformulating perfectly effective older--and less expensive--drugs."
Some of these articles sound interesting, don't they? I'd recommend them, except that the articles aren't available online--they're locked behind an old-fashioned, subscription-only firewall, where they're available only Trial subscribers. Since those are mostly plaintiffs' lawyers, ATLA has set up a sort of pointless echo chamber, where plaintiffs' lawyers complain to other plaintiffs' lawyers about tort reform.
There's at least one exception to hidden nature of the July Trial: a longer, unedited version of Justinian Lane's article is online at his weblog, Corpreform. Leave it to a weblogger to get the word out. Meanwhile, I wonder why ATLA doesn't make these articles generally available to the public. Perhaps it figures that articles from Trial magazine would be too technical for the general reader, that its website's consumer-focused content suffices.
On the other hand, is it possible that ATLA could really be this condescending to those it seeks to serve? I don't think so. The unavailability of the July issue of Trial is probably just an unfortunate oversight, one that should be corrected.
UPDATE: As explained in a comment from the editors of Trial magazine, they've now made the issue freely available online.