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January 4th, 2011

Rendell Decries ‘Wimps’ While Embracing Lawsuits

If you were too busy shoveling out from the Mid-Atlantic’s big post-Christmas blizzard, you may have missed Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell’s outburst, calling the NFL “wimps” when the decision was made to postpone a Philadelphia Eagles game due to the storm.  “We’re becoming a nation of wussies,” Rendell blustered.  But had the NFL and Eagles decided to go ahead with the game, where would the governor have stood on the lawsuits that almost certainly would have resulted?  

The NFL had postponed the game out of concern for the safety of the 70,000 ticket holders, who might have otherwise felt compelled to drive in dangerous conditions to the game.  Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said he strongly agreed with the NFL that the postponement was needed as a public safety measure.

Readers should note that Governor Rendell has vetoed tort reform and hired contingency fee lawyers to sue on behalf of the state, even when the state’s own attorney general viewed the evidence as weak.  Cultivating, as he has, such a cozy relationship with personal injury lawyers, one can only guess what conflicted position the governor would have taken toward their rush to file lawsuits in Philadelphia’s plaintiff-friendly courts on behalf of fans injured in game-related car accidents, slip-and-falls entering or leaving the crowded stadium, and even by hypothermia.

Governor Rendell (and others like him) can’t have it both ways.  If America has gone wimpy, as he suggests, it’s due in large part to the constant threat of opportunistic lawsuits that cost us all dearly.  Fortunately, Pennsylvania’s incoming governor, Tom Corbett, is expected to work with lawmakers in Harrisburg on significant liability reform this year.

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