Deserving protection

Posted: Friday, January 14, 2005

Last week, President Bush toured the country attacking consumer legal rights. Along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the big insurance companies, he wants to make it harder for victims of dangerous prescription drugs, medical malpractice and corporate wrongdoing to have their day in court.

One of the president's proposals, moving nearly all class-action lawsuits into the overcrowded federal courts, is even opposed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Rehnquist. This class-action bill would make it harder for consumers ripped off by credit card companies, families whose town water systems have been polluted and workers whose civil rights have been violated to bring lawsuits against wrongdoers. The president's other proposal would harshly restrict compensation paid to consumers who are disfigured or brain-damaged by unsafe prescription drugs or medical malpractice.

The only reason to make it harder for victims of corporate wrongdoing to seek justice is to reward big campaign contributors. Consumers deserve better.

Steve Cleary

Anchorage



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