The "at best unreliable and at worst fraudulent" conduct of plaintiff lawyers cited in "Boeing Beats the Trial Bar" (Wall Street Journal, March 19) should finally spark a congressional investigation of the nation's lawsuit industry.
When three of the plaintiff bar's then most emulated big hitters—Bill Lerach, Mel Weiss and Dickie Scruggs—each pleaded guilty to respective corruption charges and began serving federal prison sentences in 2008, my organization and other tort reformers called on Congress to examine the most egregious problems in our civil justice system. But neither the Senate nor House conducted hearings.
Evidence of costly trial-lawyer malfeasance has continued to mount with, among other items, the discovery in West Virginia that fraudulent chest X-rays were the catalyst for asbestos cases, runaway auto-accident fraud in South Florida and documentary film outtakes in which brazen plans to manipulate and intimidate a judge are openly discussed. So in keeping with Washington's bipartisan "jobs, jobs, jobs" agenda, it's time for Congress to assess the prevalence of such outrageous litigation practices and the drag they impose on our economy. After all, lawmakers have made time in recent years to summon before the television cameras everyone from baseball players and oil-company executives to auto makers and mortgage lenders. Shouldn't those who gin up job-killing lawsuits now take a turn in the spotlight too?
President, American Tort Reform Association
Editor's Note: This letter originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal.