Trial Lawyers' Stand on Oil Clean-up Measure

I am writing to you on behalf of the Los Angeles Trial Lawyers Assn. in response to the full-page political ad that ran on Aug. 21 in Part A titled "If She's Not a Good Samaritan, Just Who Is?"

This ad is simply a blatant lie when it accuses "the Trial Lawyers" as opposing SB 2040, the oil spill clean-up measure pending in the state Legislature. The ad features a large picture of an obviously concerned young woman, presumably an unpaid volunteer, holding a bird covered by oil from a spill.

As usual, the oil industry, through its front groups, distorts the truth to serve its own ends. Trial lawyers, together with such respected organizations as the Natural Resources Defense Council and the American Oceans Campaign, have always fought for the protection of our environment. We have always believed that those who cause these devastating oil spills should be held legally liable to those who have been damaged, and we are proud to help in the effort to make the oil industry pay for the devastation.

To my knowledge, there has never been a case brought against any person who volunteered as a "Good Samaritan" to help clean up the mess caused by the oil industry, but to the extent that such persons are concerned about their potential legal liability, we unequivocally support the immunity provisions in SB 2040.

The dispute here is not whether these volunteers should be given immunity, but rather, whether the oil companies' own highly paid professional contractors should be given the same immunity.

CHARLES J. MAZURSKY

Treasurer

Los Angeles Trial Lawyers Assn.

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