Letter to the Editor: Litigation system not hurting business

Wisconsin State Journal
July 2, 2010

by Aaron Swanum

Regarding Sunday's Business section article "WMC leader laments polarized politics," James Haney is concerned about the litigation climate. There's no problem here. Even the conservative Pacific Research Institute, funded by ExxonMobil, Phillip Morris and Big Pharma, rated Wisconsin's tort liability system ninth best in the country.

There is no evidence that businesses are leaving Wisconsin because of the liability system. The facts show that personal injury cases, encompassing product liability, automobile accidents and medical malpractice, have decreased over the last decade. They are only 2.2 percent of all civil case filings - 7,230 cases out of 319,280 civil case filings. Of that number, only 104 product liability actions and 137 medical malpractice cases were filed in Wisconsin in 2009.

It's the collection of debts that has led to almost 80,000 additional civil cases being filed since 2000. These are primarily prosecuted by businesses.

If businesses can rely on the civil justice system to resolve their disputes, the same should be true for injured citizens who seek to hold wrongdoers accountable for their negligent conduct.

We hope Haney supports a strong civil justice system because it is good for the economy and protects the personal and property rights of all citizens.

Aaron Swanum, Communications Director
Wisconsin Association for Justice

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