Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Thanks, LABI

If you think State Farm's agreement to pay off hundred of millions of dollars of homeowners' claims is good news for Louisiana, think again. As Business Week puts it:
Joseph Bruno, a lawyer who represents 4,500 homeowners in the New Orleans area, said insurers and policyholders there are settling hundreds of cases individually. But a mass settlement like Mississippi's is less likely in Louisiana, he said, because punitive damages aren't allowed under state law and the companies aren't facing a criminal investigation there.

Punitive damages were allowed in Louisiana until 1996, when Mike Foster floor leader and LABI member F. Charles McMains authored a tort reform bill that outlawed them. Don't expect that law to be repealed any time soon. Austin Baudoin has introduced a bill to do just that, but LABI's working very hard to defeat such bad bills. As (no-longer blogging) N.O. blogger Timshel put it:
When lobbying groups like LABI call someone anti-business it usually means that they don't sufficiently support "tort reform," tax-breaks and/or outright subsidies for business, and lax environmental standards,

I wish I had started reading New Orleans blogs before the federal flood*.

There is a second part to that equation: "the companies aren't facing a criminal investigation there." Maybe Charles Foti should stop playing God.

*According to a commenter at Jeffrey's, in England it's (more correctly) referred to as the flood, rather than the hurricane.

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