Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel recently asked the state Supreme Court to reconsider permission to go ahead with Ford transmissions. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel recently asked the state Supreme Court to reconsider allowing individuals to sue Ford transmissions. But these are not auto parts. What Nessel really wants is for the court to âreviseâ his interpretation of Michigan consumer protection law.
While this may seem like a technical and legal matter for lawyers and judges, the reality is that anyone who wants to see a booming economy in Michigan should be concerned.
For starters, if Nessel thinks state law should be changed, she should ask the legislature to do so. But she won’t because she knows she couldn’t achieve her goals there. Instead, she is asking the court to hear this Ford case, having previously denied it, to overturn two previous decisions. If it is successful, Ford and all of the state’s regulated industries will face significantly increased liability.
Protecting consumers and ensuring bad actors are held accountable is indeed a laudable goal, but creating unnecessary opportunities for entrepreneurial trial lawyers to sue those who are boosting Michigan’s economy is not the right way. to do.
Nessel says the court’s current interpretation of the law creates an exemption that leaves consumers at “significant risk.” But the Michigan legislature has not expressed such concern about the court’s interpretation of the law that was made more than 20 years ago. If there had been such a problem, the legislature would likely have made it known at some point.
If Nessel is successful, the real “significant risk” will be for Michigan employers who find themselves facing increased litigation when trial attorneys take advantage of new legal opportunities. Frivolous and baseless lawsuits often drag on in the courts for years, at considerable cost and burden for small business defendants.
This abuse of lawsuits will ultimately lead to successful companies deciding to shut down their operations, and others seeking to decide where to locate will turn to states with a more balanced judicial system.
It’s not just a slippery slope argument either. States deemed “Judicial hellholesBy the American Tort Reform Foundation like California and New York have loose “consumer protection” laws and courts that allow thousands of baseless claims to move forward.
Companies are forced to litigate these cases, which often include complaints about how ânaturalâ a food’s ingredients are or if there is too much air in a bag of chips.
Ford and the rest of Michigan’s auto industry employ hundreds of thousands of hard-working Michigan residents, and they contribute billions of dollars to the state’s economy. It’s easy to see why entrepreneurial litigators would want to target a booming economy, but Michigan shouldn’t want to be a “judicial hell” like California or New York.
While Nessel is charged with protecting consumers and undoubtedly has good intentions, the grim reality is her insistence that the court reinterpret consumer protection law won’t do much for consumers. The lawyers who will bring the resulting lawsuits, on the other hand, will collect a windfall of fees.
Instead of promoting litigation and attacking job creators with this legislative step, Nessel should take his case to the Michigan legislature and take care to ensure that it serves the broader interests of the public – not the lawyers who are suing. It is now up to the state Supreme Court to dismiss Nessel’s claim and, as it has previously done, to decline to consider the lawsuit against Ford.
Tiger Joyce is president of the American Tort Reform Association. It has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.