Thursday, August 18, 2022 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service
Op-Ed

Conservative protection

October 4, 2021

A conservative group wants to protect consumers by fighting left-wing corporations and their lawyer enablers.

Milt Policzer

By Milt Policzer

Courthouse News columnist; racehorse owner and breeder; one of those guys who always got picked last.

Say you’re a conservative but you also want to protect consumers from corporations. How do you do that?

This is not a rhetorical question. I want to know the answer.

I’ve been pondering this since spotting a press release last week from something called Alliance for Consumers, an organization that claims it wants to protect consumers while being “unapologetically pro free market and for a limited federal government.”

I guess the idea is to protect consumers by not protecting them.

The press release begins with this sentence: “Alliance for Consumers puts trial lawyers on notice.”

Picture trial lawyers quaking in their dress shoes.

It then goes on to say that trial lawyers are partnering with state governments “to line their pockets and fund left-wing political agendas.”

I should note here that I’ve been noting for decades — without anyone paying particular attention to me — how most consumer and shareholder class actions don’t seem to benefit consumers and shareholders. The Alliance criticism is not unreasonable.

But what do they want to do about it? I’m not sure. For all I know, the Alliance is a couple of guys in a basement putting together a website. They don’t seem to be asking for money (unless you count the “news” link to find articles from “Issues and Insights”). They do seem to be upset with corporations contributing to Democrats, “the corporate media,” and the All-Star game being moved out of Georgia.

Darn those liberal corporations!

There’s not a lot of consumer protection on the Alliance website — unless you click on the “Resources” tab where you’ll find a link to a grand total of one article that turns out to be extremely reasonable (because I agree with it) and doesn’t complain about left wing agendas. You have to wonder whether the Alliance guys read it.

What does all this mean? Here’s the lesson: no matter what anyone says on the internet, they probably mean something else.

I mean that. Or do I?

Reporting. Us journalists, by the way, are not helping. Reporters are easily dazzled by shiny numbers.

The Los Angeles Times last week, for example, dutifully reported on its front page that Southern California Gas company had agreed to a $1.8 billion settlement of lawsuit over a massive gas leak in the San Fernando Valley northwest of Los Angeles.

Sound good?

Well, maybe. Or maybe not. You have to get past the front page and through about three quarters of the story to find a quote from a guy noting that individuals aren’t going to get much and that area residents are still smelling gas and having health problems.

Maybe that stuff should have been on the front page.

Play nice. We got yet another example last week of what not to do in court. This is from a Montana Supreme Court ruling that a lawyer should be declared a vexatious litigant:

“Wallace behaved inappropriately and with hostility throughout his entire appeal, offering little or no evidence to support his arguments and instead made unsupported ad hominem attacks, including describing Appellees’ proffered arguments as ‘stupid’ and ‘idiotic,’ calling this Court a ‘woefully pathetic body,’ and describing the District Court’s rulings … as ‘besotted squealings’ based on ‘bias, blundering, or booze.’”

“Besotted squealings” is my new favorite phrase.

This lawyer needs to get out of law and into country music. I want to hear “Bias, Blundering or Booze” on my radio.

Subscribe to this Column

Want to receive new op-eds directly to your inbox? Subscribe below.

Loading
Loading...