Posts Tagged ‘Notice Pleading Restoration Act of 2009’
December 1st, 2009 at 5:21 pm
Arlen Specter Introduces Trial Lawyers’ Bill of Rights
Posted by Print

Desperate to fend off challenges from both his left and right in his campaign to perpetuate a seemingly-endless Senate tenure, Senator Arlen Specter (Fair Weather Party – PA) has introduced legislation amounting to a trial lawyers’ bill of rights.

Last year, the United States Supreme Court issued an important but underreported decision requiring plaintiffs to state a plausible claim in order to proceed with burdensome litigation.  Namely, according to Justice Anthony Kennedy for the majority, there must be “factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”

That doesn’t sound like too much to ask of a litigant, does it?

After all, anyone who has found themselves individually named in a lawsuit after some ambulance-chasing plaintiffs’ attorney has cast the widest imaginable net in naming potential defendants can attest to the oft-abusive nature of our judicial system.  Even when the likelihood of ultimate liability is almost nonexistent, the sheer cost in terms of dollars, time and emotional energy to defend frivolous suits can be steep.

But even that minimal requirement is apparently intolerable to Senator Specter.  Or, more accurately, to the plaintiffs’ lawyers who can help save his hide from the electoral fire through campaign support.  He has therefore introduced the “Notice Pleading Restoration Act of 2009,” which would require a court to establish absolute metaphysical certainty that a claim won’t prevail before dismissing it.

Specter’s proposed bill is very, very dangerous, particularly at a time when tort reform and restraining unnecessary litigation costs are critical to our economic recovery and national well-being.  But to Senator Specter, that’s apparently a small price to pay to retain Senatorial privileges six more years.