Tuesday, January 13, 2009

King Nut

Because deregulation worked so well for banking, and the FDA is so good at keeping us safe, Gov. Perdue wants prevent Georgians harmed by dangerous products from recovering damages from the Georgia makers provided the FDA has signed off on a product. This is the same agency that has handled the salmonella outbreaks so well, right? Even now, people are dying because of salmonella in King Nut Peanut butter. But, I get it. Protect business at all cost - even the cost of the lives of Georgians.

Who, I ask you, is the real King Nut? I think we know the answer to that. He also wants to go after "meritless" lawsuits. How about we go after meritless governance? Here's the King's statement on the issue:

This session, I will propose two pieces of legislation that will make Georgia more friendly to business. First, we will cement our position as a leader in the biotech industry by enacting laws that respect the role of the federal Food and Drug Administration as the regulator of the safety of drugs and medical devices.

As other states have decided, I believe that FDA approval should mean something … It certainly should imply protection from tort lawsuits. This legislation will say that companies with a significant presence in Georgia will not be subject to product liability claims within this state if the FDA approved the medical device, drug or the labeling along with it. The legislation will make Georgia an even more attractive environment for biotechnology companies.

Secondly, Georgia's courts are crowded with nuisance lawsuits, but unfortunately, they are often cheaper to settle than to litigate. Current law provides almost no deterrent for frivolous lawsuits and that must change.

I'm asking the General Assembly to pass another tort reform bill that will provide relief to individuals and companies wrongly sued. In short, if a claim is dismissed at the earliest possible stage, the litigant bringing the claim will be responsible for the prevailing party's attorneys' fees.

If the attorney fails to notify the client of this provision, that attorney could pay the award. Lastly, the bill will make sure that the costly discovery process will not begin until the legal merits of a complaint have been tested.

This will free up our courts to pursue justice in cases with merit, protect our existing businesses that provide jobs for Georgians and attract new investment. With the help of the General Assembly, we'll make plain that the threat of meritless litigation is not a viable business strategy in Georgia.

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