Colorado Civil Justice League, the state's advocate for limiting lawsuit abuse, this week staked out its position on three bills:
Senate Bill 53 - Asbestos Litigation Transparency - SUPPORT
By requiring transparency between health care claims due to asbestos-related illness submitted in state courts and those submitted to asbestos bankruptcy trusts, the bill seeks to prevent "double-recovery" by unscrupulous plaintiffs and helps to assure the solvency of the trusts for those with future claims of asbestos-related illness. This legislation accelerates timelines for court proceedings to the benefit of plaintiffs with legitimate claims. Contrary to testimony in committee, this legislation is good for veterans, and similar legislation in Congress is supported by the American Legion.
Senate Bill 88 - Health Care Network Selection - OPPOSE
House Bill 1173 - Health Care Provider/Carrier Contracts - OPPOSE
CCJL's primary concern with both of these bills are their potential to increase litigation and interference with freedom of contract.
As introduced, SB 88 restricts freedom of contract between insurers and health care providers by creating additional contractual prohibitions in state statute. Further, after writing these provisions into statute, the bill defines these contractual violations as "unfair or deceptive trade practice(s)" - akin to false advertising or knowingly making false statements - inviting new opportunities for litigation. HB 1173 would seem to protect slanderous comments if provided as testimony to a governmental body or as "any other public activity in any forum." After inviting new litigation, the bill provides for one-way recovery of court costs and attorney fees (only for a prevailing plaintiff).
CCJL believes that contractual matters between private parties should be resolved privately and disputes resolved by negotiation rather than litigation.