Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Rep. Ted Vogt was a third year law student at the time he was appointed by the Pima County Board of Supervisors to fill the unexpired term of Frank Antenori, who had moved up to the senate. Vogt got his B.A. from Yale University, and clerked under U.S. Senator Jon Kyl and Vice President Dick Cheney on homeland security matters. Yikes!
For a guy who is a wet-behind-the-ears newly minted attorney, Ted Vogt has emerged in the Arizona legislature as the water carrier for "tort reform" measures propogated by ALEC and the Goldwater Institute. So I guess this makes him a self-loathing attorney? Dude, there's counseling for that.
Two of these ALEC/Goldwater Institute bills in particular were especially loathsome. Ted "tort reform" Vogt sponsored a bill for a "loser pays" theory of recovery of attorneys fees and costs. No chilling effect on a citizen bringing a lawsuit against a multi-national corporation with a team of over-paid suits there, nosiree. Arizona lawmaker wants lawsuit losers to pay all costs of the winner - East Valley Tribune:
Rep. Ted Vogt, R-Tucson, would let judges order someone who loses a lawsuit to pay all the costs and legal fees of the winner. He said it's only fair.
I guess he missed the day in class where he would have learned about the public policy reasons against such a standard. Or more probably, he was listening to his mentor, GOP politico John Munger. Bill would allow judges to make losers pay more often:
John Munger, a former chairman of the Arizona Republican Party, said loser pays has worked in contract disputes in Arizona for years and he has seen it at work in his own practice.
Munger, a proponent of the concept who worked with Vogt on the failed bill last session, said plaintiffs always think twice before proceeding to court after he advises them they might be on the hook for attorney fees if they lose.
“They think, wow, I might have some skin in the game,” Munger said.
Munger said it’s time for Arizona to go loser pays, pointing to Texas, which this year adopted its own version.
As a matter of fact, our Tea-Publican legislature did enact the scaled-back version of the Munger-Vogt loser pays, HB 2544, which was something of a defeat, since the law limits loser pays to claims that are "without substantial justification," i.e., that are groundless and not made in good faith. Yeah, we already have Rule 11 for that, so that was a swing and a miss.
The second loathsome bill was an attempt to limit the fees of attorneys who represent vulnerable adults -- I kid you not. Bill would limit awards in elder abuse suits:
A bill making its way through the legislature would limit awards of attorney fees in abuse cases involving the elderly and vulnerable adults.
House Bill 2560, sponsored by Republican Ted Vogt out of Tucson, removes the ability for the court to order the payment of attorney fees in civil claims related to the care of vulnerable adults.
Sadly, this bill also passed the legislature and was signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer. New law alters attorneys' pay in adult abuse cases:
Gov. Jan Brewer signed a bill into law Tuesday that changes the way attorneys are paid in cases involving adult abuse or neglect.
Supporters of the law say it will help prevent excessive court awards to attorneys who represent vulnerable adults. Opponents say it will discourage lawyers from representing abused adults seeking damages.
* * *
Attorney Craig Knapp, who often represents abused adults, said the money awarded to abused adults is notoriously low and, without the incentive, fewer lawyers will take these cases.
"Sadly, there will be a lot of abuse and neglect that will never see the light of a courtroom," Knapp said.
I'm thinking Ted "tort reform" Vogt would be much happier as a claims adjuster for a large insurance company.