White House Anti-Preemption Memo is a Trial Lawyer Ticket to More Lawsuits

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May 21, 2009

There is little debate that the consequence of eliminating federal preemption of state laws is more lawsuits. In January, the plaintiffs’ lawyer lobby announced their top priority was to gut preemption—which in reality translates into windfall profits for their members.

This debate is about allowing plaintiffs’ lawyers to open the floodgates of litigation against America’s employers.

The days of employers doing business in a single locality are long gone. Today’s markets are global and know few geographic boundaries. With the click of a mouse, businesses reach their customers everywhere the World Wide Web can reach. When it comes to commerce, America is truly the ‘United States.’

Removing federal preemption forces employers to navigate a confusing, often contradictory patchwork quilt of 50 sets of laws and regulations. The end effect is an economic system that ensnares employers into the costly morass of litigation at the hands of America’s plaintiffs’ lawyers. Employers must pay to defend themselves against an extortionate legal system, often at the expense of creating or saving jobs.

It’s difficult to conceive of the difference between the need for a uniform national standard for automobile fuel efficiency on the one hand, while embracing a fifty-state patchwork quilt approach when it comes to lawsuits. The only difference is that the latter benefits one key special interest group.

Removing preemption runs completely counter to the goal of stabilizing the economy and growing jobs—except for those in the lawsuit business.