Joe Biden

Trial Lawyers Are Betting Big on Biden

What those donors understand is that a President Biden would nominate judges who are favorably disposed, or at least not hostile.

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A Joe Biden presidency would be a bonanza for plaintiff's lawyers.

After his strong performance in the South Carolina Democratic primary and on Super Tuesday, Biden has been consolidating support among a wide range of key Democratic constituencies. But the trial lawyers have been backing him since before it became trendy.

Four Biden fundraising events tell the story.

On May 21, 2019, Biden had a fundraiser at a home of Orlando, Fla., lawyer John Morgan. Orlando magazine reported the event raised $1.7 million and reports that Morgan owns, with his wife, the plaintiff's law firm Morgan & Morgan, and also "ClassAction.com; Abogados.com (the Spanish word for attorney is abogado); and Litify, a software management system for law firms."

On June 18, 2019, Biden held a fundraiser at what a pool report described as "a tent on a balcony-like outside area adjacent to the law offices of Weitz and Luxenberg P.C. in Manhattan."

My review of Federal Election Commission records discloses about 50 contributions to the Biden presidential campaign from Weitz & Luxenberg employees, totaling $97,400. Most of the contributions are from lawyers, but an accountant and the firm's information technology director also kicked in. Many of the contributions are grouped around the date of the June 18 event.

Weitz & Luxenberg specializes in asbestos lawsuits. The firm paid former New York State assembly speaker Sheldon Silver millions of dollars to refer cases to it in a scheme that yielded federal criminal charges and a conviction of Silver that was eventually overturned by an appeals court. Weitz & Luxenberg was not charged in the case. The firm's website boasts that the firm's lawyers have obtained $8.5 billion in asbestos verdicts; they are also pursuing artificial hip-makers and Monsanto's Roundup herbicide.

On Monday, December 2, 2019, Biden had another fundraiser with trial lawyers, this time about 70 of them at the Union League Club in Chicago. Among the hosts, according to a pool report, was lawyer John Simmons. Lawyers at his firm, Simmons Hanly Conroy, have donated $119,100 to Biden's presidential campaign, according to Federal Election Commission records. That firm, too, specializes in asbestos litigation.

On February 24, 2020, Biden had a fundraiser at the Mount Pleasant, S.C., home of Lisa and Joe Rice. Joe Rice is a co-founder of the plaintiff's law firm Motley Rice.

My review of Federal Election Commission records discloses about 30 contributions to the Biden presidential campaign from Motley Rice employees, totaling $59,850. Most of the donations are from lawyers, though a paralegal and a "law intern" also gave money to Biden. Motley Rice also is involved in Roundup litigation, as well as in cases about breast implants, hernia mesh, Takata airbags, Johnson & Johnson's baby power, and prescription opioids.

OpenSecrets.org, a website that tracks campaign finance, lists the two plaintiff's firms, Morgan & Morgan and Simmons Hanly Conroy, as Biden's top two contributors for the period 1989 to 2020.

Biden's relationship with the tort bar goes back decades. The Los Angeles Times reported in 2008 that Simmons Hanley Conroy, then known as SimmonsCooper, offered to invest $2 million to help Biden's son Hunter and Biden's brother James buy a hedge fund company.

Joe Biden, a lawyer himself, long served on the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he was in a position to craft legislation and to vote on judicial nominations that affected the profits of these law firms.

Presidential candidate Biden professes to be for "a constitutional amendment to entirely eliminate private dollars from our federal elections," to "reduce the corrupting influence of money in politics." I disagree with Biden's stated position. I favor protecting the rights of trial lawyers—just like corporate lawyers and executives and any other American—to participate in the political process by making campaign contributions.

Voters considering Biden, though, will want to be clear-eyed about what all this means. What the trial-lawyer donors understand is that a President Biden would nominate judges who are favorably disposed, or at least not hostile. Biden would also pursue a policy and legislative agenda favorable to plaintiff-lawyer interests.

What might that look like?

There's a contrarian conservative or libertarian case for privatizing some policy decisions into product liability law. Rather than officially banning guns or ammunition, this line of thought goes, make the manufacturers liable for civil damages in school shootings and other violent crimes. Rather than outright banning fossil fuels, make the oil companies or the automakers liable for the climate consequences of emissions. The trial lawyers and the courts will take care of the rest.

I'm not advocating this line of thought, just describing it. And venturing this prediction: if Biden does wind up in the White House, various other parts of the private economy may suffer in a variety of ways, but it sure will be good for the legal business.

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  1. Given that Biden has dementia, there’s a limit to how much he can do before Harris 25th’s him.

    1. I tend to ignore those types of things because candidates make gaffes when they’re on the road- campaigning in different cities every few hours sometimes, but JFC Biden seems to very clearly have dementia. No wonder he’s the preferred DNC candidate.

      1. Democrats prefer those with dementia.

        Republicans favor (and are) half-educated bigots, superstitious slack-jaws, and backward, disaffected clingers.

        Where is the hope for America, Diane?

        1. My support is always blindly in favor of the church. That’s why I’m endorsing the honorable and eminent Reverend Arthur L. Kirkland for president. He’s the most reliably consistent, rational candidate with true bonafides in the area of individual liberty and an impeccable integrity. I can’t imagine anyone not supporting this man as the premier unifying candidate. And those who would refuse to lend him their unquestioning support, their finances, and their very life’s blood only do so out of their inherent bigotry and rampant stupidity.

    2. Related: Hunter’s stripper baby mama is trying to drag him back into court. One would think that with his dad running for president that he might try to avoid drawing attention.

      https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2020/03/lunden-roberts-files-new-motion-to-hold-deadbeat-dad-hunter-biden-in-contempt-for-failing-to-turn-over-financial-docs-in-paternity-suit/

      1. If Biden is elected, she can shop for daycare services on Gitmo.

        1. She joining the USO?

  2. the good news is Biden’s not gonna be president anyway

    1. I suspect you’re correct. He’s likeable enough for the libs and undecideds, but he’s most likely going to come off as incompetent by the end of the election cycle.

      1. Just imagine him in a debate.

        1. It’s difficult to watch him stump to a friendly crowd; the oppo has barely started on the guy and being on a debate stage with trump will have both of his eyes bleeding out. Almost feel bad for him. Almost.

          1. I don’t. I want to see his whole family in prison.

            1. Open wider, clinger.

              Or not.

              Your comfort is a low priority.

              1. Hey Rev, ever had your shit pushed?

    2. If not Biden, who?

      The guy who loves to take credit for a (currently tanking) economy, whom most Americans dislike because they reject bigotry and backwardness?

      1. Yep, Big Bad Orange Man created the corona virus, and is giving it only to D-Rats.

  3. Amazing how this constitutes an intolerable conflict of interest for Reason, but 90% of the tech industry donating to the Clinton campaign is waved off as delusional conspiracy theories of the ”””””alt right”””””. It’s almost like the remaining Koch Bro has some serious liability if consumers have access to the court system, but has a lot to gain from Marxists controlling the entire media.

  4. And, of course, individual congress-critters will be liable for any damage done to citizens by the rules and regulations promulgated as a result of the laws they passed.

  5. “A Joe Biden presidency would be a bonanza for Trial Lawyers.”

    Some of my favorite vermin …

  6. “There’s a contrarian conservative or libertarian case for privatizing some policy decisions into product liability law. Rather than officially banning guns or ammunition, this line of thought goes, make the manufacturers liable for civil damages in school shootings and other violent crimes. Rather than outright banning fossil fuels, make the oil companies or the automakers liable for the climate consequences of emissions. ”

    Product liability instead of regulation is a good idea. The two “examples” given here are not examples of any legitimate products liability theory whatsoever. This is really incredibly stupid.

    1. A gun blowing up in your hand is a defective product. A gun putting a bullet where it’s aimed is not a defective product.

      If we want to go down that road all automobile accidents should be pinned on car manufacturers, the estate of someone who chokes to death on a chunk of steak has a claim on the rancher.

      And yeah all those examples are ridiculous, but so is holding gun manufacturers liable for perfectly functional guns.

      1. Exactly. I’m so fed up with the stupidity of what I read here some times.

        1. Author specifically stated he was just describing it, not advocating.

    2. Politicians have killed a lot more by stunting the economy than guns have, by delaying medical invention. Most of the politicians who oppose guns would make that mass murder even greater.

  7. Well, no matter what, still believe trump will come out triumph in November.. Things to do after buying Iphone or Ipad |

  8. Pro-state Republican cunts rant about “trial [defense] lawyers.” Libertarians should probably expect to favor those who defend people’s rights against the government.

    1. “”Libertarians should probably expect to favor those who defend people’s rights against the government.””

      We do. Do you know the difference between industry and government? Because the article isn’t about defending people’s rights against government.

    2. Rev AND Tony? This thread is just shit being pushed.

    3. If it were against the government, sure. Vs. Private enterprise? Not so clear. It has serious attributes similar to a parasite. Does it do what it ostensibly claims, to make products better?

      Hmmmmm…

  9. This column is bullshit. The overwhelming majority of lawyers (other than Federalists and anarchists) will prefer Biden to Stephen Miller and Bill Barr. Trial lawyers are just one hapless subset that Ira has run his yellow highlighter across so that the Kochosphere has its talking points.

  10. I am creating an honest wage from home 3000 Dollars/week , that is wonderful, below a year agone i used to be unemployed during a atrocious economy. I convey God on a daily basis i used to be endowed these directions and currently it’s my duty to pay it forward and share it with everybody, Here is I started… Read more  

  11. Trial lawyers deep down are really good people…6 Ft under.

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