FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SEPTEMBER 14, 2016
CONTACT: MARYANN MARINO, 949-375-0856
Political Spending by California Personal Injury Lawyers Tops $22 Million Since 2013
More than 80% of political spending came from law firms and individual lawyers
SACRAMENTO – California’s personal injury lawyers spent more than $22 million on elections and lobbying expenditures between January 2013 and June 2016, according to a newly-released statewide report from California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA). The report shows that $14 million of this spending came from individual lawyers and law firms to candidates and ballot measure campaigns, as personal injury lawyers sought to increase their influence in the California legislature and at the ballot box.
“We face an aggressive, politically-active trial bar here in California,” Ken Barnes, Executive Director of California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse. “As a result of the political influence of personal injury lawyers, California has far too many laws that encourage lawsuit abuse and made us the worst ‘Judicial Hellhole’ in the nation. Political spending and influence is a critical part of California’s cycle of lawsuit abuse, which promotes lawsuits, harms small businesses, and kills jobs.”
The lawsuit abuse cycle demonstrates how personal injury lawyers work to create a climate where this behavior can flourish.
“Personal injury lawyers contribute to legislators to pass laws that encourage abusive lawsuits, fueling even more aggressive tactics by lawyers to recruit plaintiffs and file more lawsuits,” said Barnes. “The political spending continues, as personal injury lawyers look to protect these bad laws from reform by contributing more of their fees to keep lawyer-friendly politicians and elect new ones.”
“We have seen the cycle of lawsuit abuse in play on many issues in California, including laws on disability access, wage and hour issues, public nuisance, and environmental regulations. In order to break the cycle, voters need to be informed about where candidates stand on lawsuit abuse issues and who is providing them financial support,” said Barnes. “As we move toward Election Day in November, CALA will be educating and encouraging voters to ask these questions of candidates running for elected office at the state and local level.”
The report on political contributions was made available through the California Secretary of State’s Cal-Access website. Only contributions from personal injury lawyers/law firms and related trade associations that were more than $500 were included in the count. Highlights of the report include:
* Personal injury lawyers spent a total of $22 million between January 2013 and June 2016, with $17 million spent on elections and more than $5 million spend on lobbying expenditures.
* More than 80% of the spending came from individual lawyers and law firms; the top five contributors were Girardi & Keese ($587,930), Farrise Law Firm ($490,320), Shernoff Bidart Echeverria Bentley ($487,250), Crotchett Pitre & McCarthy ($455,774) and Robinson Calcagnie Robinson ($421,614).
* By region, the largest law firm contributions came from Los Angeles at $5.6 million, with San Francisco Bay Area law firms contributing $3.5 million.
* The largest recipient of political contributions was the “Yes on Prop. 46” campaign, a measure to encourage and financially incentivize the filing of medical malpractice lawsuits.
* Other top recipients of political contributions from law firms or their trade associations were: Simona Farisse for Assembly 2014 ($599,470), Dave Jones for Insurance Commissioner 2014 ($414,607), and Re-elect Attorney General Kamala Harris 2014 ($358,024); other top recipients were Consumer Watchdog, Senate Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, Governor Jerry Brown, Senator Bob Wieckowski, Senator and Senate Judiciary Chair Hannah-Beth Jackson, State Senator Bill Monning, San Francisco Board of Supervisors David Campos and Eloise Reyes.
The following table below highlights the top political contributors by region:
Los Angeles $5,642,414.88
Girardi & Keese – $587,930.68
Farrise Law Firm – $490,320.64
Shernoff Bidart Echeverria Bentley – $487,250.00
Greene Broillet & Wheeler – $394,407.04
Kabateck Brown Kellner – $358,645.28
Panish Shea & Boyle – $185,900.00
Bruce G. Fagel – $165,800.00
Taylor & Ring – $146,898.00
San Francisco Bay Area $3,542,928.63
Cotchett Pitre & McCarthy – $455,774.65
Walkup Melodia Kelly & Schoenberger – $312,900.00
Christopher B. Dolan Law Firm – $225,100.00
Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein – $203,525.00
Kazan McClain Satterley & Greenwood – $170,950.00
Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn – $167,400.00
Veen Firm – $166,100.00
Corsiglia McMahon & Allard – $105,000.00
Orange County $1,891,132.55
Robinson Calcagnie Robinson – $421,614.46
Aitken Aitken & Cohn – $291,750.00
Bisnar Chase – $213,700.00
Hodes Milman Liebeck Mosier – $125,500.00
DiMarco Araujo & Montevideo – $109,200.00
Callahan & Blaine – $103,400.00
San Diego $1,179,284.33
Casey Gerry Schenk Francavilla Blatt & Penfield – $162,300.00
Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire – $144,300.00
Gomez Iagmin – $139,400.00
Dreyer Babich Buccola Wood & Campora – $189,141.61
Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff – $67,308.06
Clement & Associates – $62,425.00
Central Valley $295,250.70
Baradat & Paboojian – $55,489.70
Tabak Law Firm – $45,000.00
Miles, Sears & Eanni – $40,500.00
Inland Empire $165,850.00
Walter Clark Legal Group – $28,550.00
Jeffrey S. Raynes – $25,000.00
Welebir, Tierney & Weck – $23,000.00
All Others $819,172.98
Ernst Law Group (San Luis Obispo) – $145,696.54
CALA, a not-for-profit, non-partisan grassroots movement dedicated to fighting lawsuit abuse in California. CALA’s mission includes educating voters on the trial bar’s influence on elections and by extension our court systems.