Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Great Republican Reversal: Now Lawsuits are good if Businesses can take Citizens to court.

For years the state Republican Party has either stopped or made it almost impossible for citizens to sue businesses for bad service or a faulty product. Scott Walker made it one of his first priorities, as a way to improve the business climate in Wisconsin.

You've heard the whining before, "Lawsuits are destroying small businesses, creating uncertainty, and wasting money that could be used to hire more employees."

Turned the Tables: Businesses are now encouraged to sue citizens in Walker's world.
WSJ: "Senate Bill 46, known as the 'Brown Jug bill' for the Alaskan bar that first had a similar law passed, would allow the owners of bars or other establishments that sell alcohol to take underage drinkers who knowingly purchase alcohol from their businesses to court. The underage drinker would be required to pay the business owner $1,000 if found guilty"… underage drinkers are already subject to a fine ranging from $250 to $1,000 for violating the state’s underage drinking law. 
This from the party that hates litigation. This flip in policy, giving businesses the power to sue consumers, is only the beginning. There are a few other problems:
1. Doesn't this let the bars off the hook? Heck, they can let a few kids in for profit.
2. The Alaskan bar I believe, only fined the underage drinker $250, not $1,000.
3. That $1,000 fine will kill that families discretionary spending for awhile, slowing the economy. That's why we don't have excessive fines. Let's face it, we're not talking about just a few offenders. A smaller fine gets the point across.
4. This won't stop underage drinking, because no one expects to get caught.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm....
    Underage drinker gets caught, convicted, fined, then sued separately by the business.
    Mom and Dad won't set foot in the place again, figuring the business owner has enough of their money already and keeping in mind that a business that didn't have to sue their kid did anyway. Word will get around.
    The underage drinker, who will be underage for only a short time and who could better be described as a 'future customer', won't forget that a business that didn't have to sue him/her did anyway. Word will get around.
    Unintended consequences or the market at work, whatever you want to call it, after awhile I would bet this option becomes unpopular and unused among businesses that sell alcohol.