VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION 207: A TRIAL LAWYER TRICK.
Trial lawyers want you to think 207 limits lawyer fees and stops frivolous lawsuits. This is a SMOKE SCREEN.
PROPOSITION 207 SHOULD BE CALLED THE LAWYERS' FEE-PROTECTION INITIATIVE!
The real purpose of 207 is to prohibit limits on attorney fees. A few greedy lawyers want to make sure they can always take whatever amount they can get away with from a settlement or judgment.
Hidden in the actual language of Proposition 207 is their real purpose. THE CALIFORNIA ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICIAL TITLE AND SUMMARY (see second sentence) contains this language:
''. . . amount of attorneys' fees . . . shall not be restricted."
THE SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS ALSO ANALYZED THE MEASURE AND DESCRIBED IT AS:
''A statutory measure sponsored by trial attorneys that would prohibit the state from regulating attorney fees."
-- San Jose Mercury News, June 29, 1996
Not only does the bogus language of 207 prevent reasonable limits on what attorneys can take, it could actually make it more difficult to prevent frivolous lawsuits and could even discourage judges from cracking down on frivolous lawsuits.
Trial lawyers gave millions of dollars to their special interest committee to pay for signatures to put Proposition 207 on the ballot. They are contributing more money for a campaign supporting it.
Do you believe trial lawyers are doing this to limit their own fees and prohibit themselves from filing frivolous lawsuits? Of course not.
The lawyers promoting 207 specialize in ambulance-chasing lawsuits. They tried to confuse the public last year by changing their name from ''trial lawyers" to ''consumer attorneys."
They make one phone call or write one letter and still take a huge fee. The lawyers end up making thousands of dollars an hour and the victims end up with a fraction of their settlement--meager compensation for their injuries. Now they want to make sure their fees can never be regulated.
We must be able to hire attorneys when we need them. But fees must be fair. Unless we defeat 207, the Legislature will be forever prohibited from protecting people from unfair, one-sided fee agreements written by lawyers. Trial lawyers will be free to write their own ticket from then on.
And, if 207 is enacted, it would require another costly ballot proposition to ever place fair limits on what lawyers can take.
The real intent of the lawyers who wrote 207 is simple: They want to lock in their ability to take whatever they can get from a client. The rest of 207 is nothing more than a disguise to hide their real purpose. These other sections offer no truly new protections and could end up costing taxpayers more because they are so complex.
VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION 207: THE ''TRIAL LAWYERS' FEE PROTECTION INITIATIVE."
MARTYN B. HOPPER
State Director, National Federation of Independent Business/California
Assemblyman, 73rd District
Chairman, Assembly Judiciary Committee