Friday, April 20, 2012

Is Governor Bobby Jindal 's Link With Trial Lawyers Really A Future Problem ?

Jindal was in New York City last night for the a big New York State Party Dinner as the keynote speaker. It seems from following along on Twitter he did pretty good. Though someone remarked at 40 minutes he might have gone a tad too long as the crowd was getting a little chatty at the end.

It's clear Jindal will be a person to watch. Which bring up this Louisiana Record post Jindal's ties to trial bar noted which brings up nationwide some have taken note for a Republican he does not shun the Plaintiff bar.

......The PoliticalDesk report notes The Politico's reporting of a $5,000 per couple fundraiser Jindal "pulled off" last year with American Association of Justice Vice President Burton LeBlanc. LeBlanc - a shareholder in the Dallas firm Baron & Budd - was hired by Jindal last year as special counsel on behalf of the state in the BP oil spill litigation.

The PoliticalDesk also cites a Forbes magazine article that questioned Jindal's hiring of Baron & Budd for the BP case. "While most Republicans are known for their hands-off approach to relationships with trial lawyers, Gov. Bobby Jindal has managed to develop close ties with the bunch without upsetting his base," the PoliticalDesk story states.

The article lists trial lawyer contributions to Jindal from 2008 through 2011 that total nearly $300,000.

The fact that Bobby is close to trial lawyers does not bother me. I like both the Plaintiff and defense bar.

I also understand " tort reform " is complicated. Yes on one side you have the problem of frivolous lawsuits. However I think it is under appreciated how Tort Lawsuits are a critical part of the free market. For instance some activities are just inherently dangerous , but as society we need. The cost of when something goes wrong in incorporated into the market price so everyone is justly compensated and made whole if something goes wrong. Putting perhaps unreasonable caps or getting rid of "Strict Liability" in these cases I find problematic. That is just one example.

A few observations as to Jindal.

-It is striking that Jindal does not go out of his way to be "anti trial" Lawyer. The Governor who brought Jindal into politics in a huge way Governor Mike Foster was to say the least not trial lawyer friendly.

-Despite not making war on Trial Lawyers , Bobby Jindal has a good relationship with the business lobby. In this case the LABI- The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry. LABI and the Trial Lawyers are often at each other throats. Yet Bobby has got a good bit pro LABI friendly legislation through.

-The fact that Jindal has not declared war on trial lawyers like many GOPers like to do has had benefits. First the trial lawyers are diverse. There are many factions of conservatives among them. On a personal level not cutting Trial Lawyers throats might be one factor that these deep pockets did not fund an opponent against him. Further by not unduly agitation them trial lawyers were less likely to have form coaltions that would put them opposite Bobby's other agenda.

-There is no doubt Jindal has at times done things some Trial lawyers might not like. But it does seem not playing the " bad trial lawyer " theme as many like to do has had benefits. Those include as I mentioned perhaps allowing other business friendly legislation to get passed.

As to the future it might benefit the GOP level on a national level to see how Jindal seems to be making this balance act work.

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