California’s Largest Cities and Counties Spent More Than $500 Million in Litigation Costs in Two Years

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: MARYANN MARINO

NOVEMBER 4, 2009 949-375-0856

PRESS RELEASE

California’s Largest Cities and Counties Spent More Than $500 Million in Litigation Costs in Two Years

Orange County spent $14.2 million and Anaheim spent $4.4 million

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. – California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) today released a report finding eight of California’s largest cities and nine of its largest counties spent $504.1 million to deal with lawsuits over two fiscal years.

CALA looked at monies spent on verdicts, settlements and outside counsel in fiscal years 2007 and 2008 for the counties of: Alameda, Fresno, Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, and Santa Clara and the cities of: Anaheim, Bakersfield, Fresno, Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento, San Diego, and San Jose.

“California has 58 counties and 480 cities, so this is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Tom Scott, CALA Executive Director. “With devastating budget cuts hitting cities and counties up and down the state, there are countless other ways this money could have been spent.”

Orange County spent $14.2 million in verdicts, settlements and outside counsel in fiscal years 2007 and 2008 and Anaheim spent $4.4 million during this same time. Not only are these costs outrageous in their own right, the money spent by Orange County in just one year could have more than paid for both the county’s Domestic Violence program and Emergency Medical Services. In Anaheim, one year of litigation costs could have maintained 146 acres of park and 105 sports fields for the same year.

“Orange County is facing severe cuts to vital services and programs like public safety, parks and education,” said Maryann Marino, Southern California Regional Director. “Yet we are doing nothing to curb litigation costs, which could actually provide substantial savings to local governments without sacrificing jobs or programs.”

The information compiled in the report came from public information requests of the localities. CALA released a similar report two years ago finding that three cities and four counties spent more than $276 million in litigation costs for fiscal years 2005 and 2006.

“Citizens of California deserve to know where their tax dollars are going. Budget shortfalls don’t just affect those who might lose their jobs or services they rely on, the effects ripple to the entire community and beyond,” Scott said. “That’s why CALA is calling for greater disclosure, more public oversight and adoption of aggressive risk management procedures to protect our local government coffers from the greedy hands of plaintiffs’ attorneys.”

The report can be found in its entirety at www.cala.com.

California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) is a nonpartisan, grass-roots organization dedicated to educating the public about the negative effects of lawsuit abuse and challenging those who abuse our legal system for personal gain.

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Maryann Maloney Marino
Regional Director
California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA)
P.O. Box 26
Corona del Mar, California 92625
MMaloney@CALA.com
(714) 259-8400 (Office)
(949) 375-0856 (Cell)
www.CALA.com


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