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Time to Sue the Membership

The Washington Times reported yesterday the American Association for Justice — formerly known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America — is broke.  And not just broke, really broke…to the tune of $6.2 million in debt.

The trial lawyers lobby has been awash in debt and bleeding members – just as it embarks on a national campaign to block any clampdown on medical malpractice lawsuits as part of President Obama’s health care overhaul.

The American Association for Justice, the most prominent group representing plaintiffs’ attorneys, has seen a shake-up in its executive suite and has struggled to deal with what appears to be a mounting budget shortfall. To help it fight congressional efforts to make it harder for patients to sue doctors and lawyers, it recently sent out an extra solicitation to its members, asking them to fork over money for a lobbying campaign.

The most striking evidence of its financial woes is a swift decline in income, which resulted in a more than $6.2 million deficit in its operating budget for the fiscal year ending July 31, 2008, the most recent year for which data are available.

The biggest hit to its books was in membership dues, which dropped from $28.6 million in 2005 to $19.2 million in 2008, according to the annual AAJ financial report for that fiscal year filed with the Internal Revenue Service.

“That is our number-one priority: to strengthen our membership,” said Joey Diaz, a member of the AAJ executive committee, speaking by phone from his law office in Madison, Miss. “We have a number of people working on membership and we have reversed that [downward] trend and are starting to move forward again.”

Mr. Diaz said he did not know the status of the association’s finances because he does not serve on the budget committee.

Of course, there had to be a Wisconsin tie to the trial lawyers’ lobby.  What, Robert Habush too busy to pick up the phone?

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  • Name

    (you can delete this after making fix)
    Just wanted to let you know that's Madison, Mississippi — not Wisconsin

  • kevinbinversie

    Well, we've been called “Mississippi North” when it comes to the Tort Bar in the past. Couldn't help but not think Madison, Wisconsin.

  • Name

    (you can delete this after making fix)
    Just wanted to let you know that's Madison, Mississippi — not Wisconsin

  • kevinbinversie

    Well, we've been called “Mississippi North” when it comes to the Tort Bar in the past. Couldn't help but not think Madison, Wisconsin.