As California personal injury lawyers, we strongly believe in the rights of consumers to seek compensation for injuries that are caused by the negligence or wrongdoing of another. Be it an individual who drove drunk and injured someone or a large corporation that manufactured a dangerous and defective product, we believe that they should be held accountable for the injuries, damages and loss caused to unsuspecting victims.
Tort Reformer Believes he was “Wronged”
However, it is always amusing to me when I hear about a “tort reformer” turning around and filing a lawsuit when he or she happens to be injured or wronged. According to an article in Mother Jones, it happened again this month when Fred Hiestand, one of California’s leading tort reform advocates, filed one of those lawsuits that he has vociferously campaigned against. Hiestand, who is the Civil Justice Association of California’s general counsel, has filed a class action against the city of Sacramento, the city’s police chief, city police officers and a tow truck company for towing his car. And here’s the kicker: He left his car in a no-parking zone!
Hiestand is seeking compensation for damages from the tow truck company under the Business and Professions Code Section 17200. That is also known as California’s Unfair Competition Law, the very law that our friends at the Civil Justice Association of California (CJAC) and other business groups successfully curbed in 2004 through the voter-approved Proposition 64.
Personal Injury Victims Deserve Justice
The hypocrisy here is appalling. Hiestand not only filed a frivolous and apparently meritless lawsuit, but he sued a small business after all that talk of tort reform and protecting businesses. Hiestand has pledged to give any award money left over from paying his costs to “fighting frivolous class action lawsuits.”
Hiestand’s actions show that whether you are a tort reformer, a personal injury lawyer or an average consumer–when you get hurt or wronged, you want justice. The American civil justice system gives consumers and injured victims the opportunity to have their day in court. In a majority of cases, going to court is the only option left for getting justice as well as any hope of receiving compensation. The fact that Hiestand is trying to prove that he is not a money-hungry litigant, but only someone who wants justice done, is laughable. I’m as opposed to frivolous and meritless lawsuits as anyone else. But there are millions out there who have suffered serious injuries and even death as a result of say, negligent drivers or manufacturers of defective auto products. These are the real victims who need and deserve justice.