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June 11th, 2013

ATRA Ally’s WSJ Letter Critical of New Jersey Trial Lawyer Bill

A letter to the editor published in today’s Wall Street Journal highlights problems with a pending bill that would effectively eliminate the statute of limitations for sexual abuse lawsuits in New Jersey.

Authored by ATRA ally Marcus Rayner of the New Jersey Lawsuit Reform Alliance, the letter notes the blow the legislation, S-2281, could strike against taxpayers if enacted into law.  Arguing the bill is trial lawyer-driven, Rayner says its proponents are “capitalizing on the public sympathy for victims.”

Unlike a similar bill in California that exempts publicly funded entities from such lawsuits, which can be impossible to defend against (as witnesses die and evidence is lost or misplaced), the New Jersey bill would include them, leaving “taxpayers [exposed] to unprecedented liability. School districts, local governments, nonprofit organizations and other publicly funded institutions could be targeted in litigation for crimes which may have occurred decades ago,” Rayner explains.

Though this legislation has stalled many times before in the New Jersey legislature, personal injury lawyers are an irrepressible group and will stop at nothing in their efforts to get their hands into the public’s wallet.  But even if the bill were to become law, Rayner concludes, “The reality is that our children are not made safer, and the programs which serve today’s youth are jeopardized as operating costs rise and insurance carriers drop coverage.”

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