NFIB State Director Dawn Starns McVea said today its members are urging their legislators to oppose Senate Bill 215 and House Bill 245, legislation that would create new opportunities for trial lawyers to file frivolous claims against small businesses.
SB 215 would create a new cause of action against businesses unable to accommodate workers who become temporarily disabled because of certain medical conditions. HB 245 would create a new cause of action against employers who inquire about a job applicant’s wage history.
“This legislation is aimed less at helping workers and more at making it easier for trial lawyers to file a claim in hopes of making fast money on a quick settlement,” Starns McVea said.
A report released Monday by Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch said lawsuit abuse already translates into a hidden “tort tax” of $451 that’s being paid by every Louisianan. NFIB is a member of the Louisiana Coalition for Common Sense, which commissioned the analysis.
“Frivolous lawsuits and cases that result in excessive damages result in $3.87 billion in lost economic activity statewide, including the loss of about 22,500 jobs,” Starns McVea said. “The cost of defending itself against one legal challenge can be enough to put a small business out of business, even if the case is ultimately dismissed by the courts.
“Our small business members are eager to address the underlying issues here, but SB 215 and HB 245 would do little besides make trial lawyers even richer, which is why we’re asking legislators to vote ‘no’.”