It is no secret that trial lawyers view anyone who wants to improve fairness and balance in our courts as their enemy. They oppose any reform to the civil justice system because — to be perfectly blunt — they make their livings off of lawsuits, and any effort to reduce frivolous or meritless litigation could impact their bottom lines.

Such is the case with Peter M. Meisner, the River Ridge personal injury lawyer who recently had two letters published in The Advocate attacking Rep. Stuart Bishop and the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry over their support for lawsuit reform.

Mr. Meisner did not directly refute any of the actual issues raised by Rep. Bishop or LABI. Instead, he resorted to weak personal attacks, going after Rep. Bishop in particular simply because he was elected to office by his constituents without opposition.

The debate over lawsuit reform should be about policies, not politics or personalities.

Excessive litigation in Louisiana costs us thousands of jobs every year and discourages small businesses from growing and expanding their operations. Just ask folks like Mike Carter, who has spent millions defending his small business in north Louisiana against thousands of lawsuits that have all been dismissed without merit.

Just as troubling is the fact that excessive litigation also translates into higher home and auto insurance rates. Most Louisiana drivers can relate to the feeling of money pouring out of our pockets and bank accounts, as we are consistently forced to pay some of the highest insurance rates in the nation.

Obviously, if a small business or individual does something wrong, they should be held accountable. But all too often small businesses and individuals are unfairly targeted by aggressive lawyers trying to score a big win. That’s not justice, that’s greed. While greed has no proper place in our legal system, fairness and balance do.

Melissa Landry

executive director, Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch

Baton Rouge