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April 20th, 2012

Louisiana Lawmakers Take up ‘Legacy’ Lawsuits, But Gov. Jindal’s Trial Bar Ties May Stymie Reform

As reported earlier this week by the Times-Picayune, Louisiana legislators have begun to consider various bills aimed at reducing the economic destructiveness of so-called “legacy” lawsuits, the benefits of which often flow to scheming plaintiffs’ lawyers.

Both the energy companies targeted by these lawsuits and the lawyers who represent landowners alleging environmental degradation believe that some compromise from both sides will be needed to get to “yes” on meaningful legislation.  But neither side expects much leadership from Gov. Bobby Jindal (R).

Why?  Well, despite his much criticized performance in presenting the nationally televised Republican response to President Obama’s 2009 State of the Union Address,  Jindal and some others continue to see a bright future in national conservative politics for the still young Indian-American governor.  But as the Political Desk website makes clear, Jindal has developed some very cozy campaign finance ties to plaintiffs’ lawyers in Louisiana and elsewhere.  As a result, he’s been apparently unwilling to get out in front of reasonable tort reforms. 

If Jindal really wants a political future on the national stage, he’ll eventually have to choose between tort reform and campaign checks from trial lawyers.  And legacy lawsuit reform legislation is as good a place as any to take a stand, Governor.

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