Minn. Gov. Dayton Vetoes Lawsuit Reform Bills

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed four Republican-sponsored bills Friday that made major changes to the state’s civil legal system, describing the legislation as the product of special interest groups and again criticizing legislative Republicans, saying they’re “too extreme to lead.”

The bills were the first to land on the governor’s desk in the three-week-old legislative session, and his swift vetoes upset Republican leaders, who called the bills a genuine attempt to make the state’s court system friendlier to small-business owners.

“Frankly it’s just a little disheartening, it’s a little disappointing. I think it’s time for the governor to put the spears down,” said Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester.

The House passed the four bills earlier in the session with unanimous support from Republicans and some Democratic-Farmer-Labor party votes as well, though more Democrats voted against the bills than for them. The Senate passed the bills in 2011.

The bills would have cut the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits from six years to four, put limits on attorney fees in certain cases, created stronger appeal rights for designation of class-action lawsuits and reduced the interest rate on monetary judgments that are not paid while a case is under appeal.

Dayton criticized Republicans for both the content of the bills and the process by which they were passed.

“The real impact would be to reduce the rights of law-abiding citizens and businesses who seek justice for the wrongdoing of others,” Dayton said.

In addition, Dayton said Republicans failed to consult his administration, legislative Democrats or judicial branch officials while the bills were assembled. He suggested that three of them were directly inspired by nationwide lobbying efforts of the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council.

“I’ve found that Minnesotans don’t want their laws written by lobbyists for big corporations,” Dayton said. He derided GOP notions that the changes would result in a better job climate.

“These bills are laughably referred to as, quote, jobs bills, closed quote. Well, calling a crow a swan doesn’t make it one,” Dayton said.

House Speaker Kurt Zellers said Dayton owes a better explanation to thousands of Minnesota business owners who belong to Minnesotans for Lawsuit Reform, a group that sought the changes.

“He can pick a fight with us all he wants, can call us names,” Zellers said. He said the bills were “about making Minnesota’s business climate more competitive.”

Pointing out that the Senate passed the bills last year, Zellers said Dayton’s administration had ample time to engage in the process that led to the final bills.

“These bills have been out there, they’ve been available, there’s no secrecy,” Zellers said.

The nascent 2012 session is most notable for the Senate’s rejection of one of Dayton’s cabinet appointees and now for Dayton’s vetoes. Amid these frayed relations, the governor will deliver his State of the State Address to a joint session of the Legislature on Wednesday night.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • llp

    What’s wrong the bought and paid for GOP can’t deliver to their owners

    • common sense

      Another example of Dayton paying back his liberal backers. The lawyers are the real winners here…exploiting the common person for their democratic, no make that demon-cratic party. Dayton is the extremest here, using extreme language “not fit to govern”…Dayton and the demosnats are are not fit to govern. Let’s not forget that a large chunk of the 1% are the liberal lawyers and media idiots.

  • stung4ever

    You want to reform lawsuits? Rule number 1: Go after the lawyers.

    When there’s a frivolous lawsuit, give the plaintiff a fine, and give the lawyer a LARGE fine.

    • ain't nuthing but a thang

      Our Govmnt. office is filled with gurs

  • J

    Would be nice if ‘cco would have put the article what the reforms were.

    • Tom

      The liberal media filters the news for you. They don’t want you to ‘misinterpret’ the facts.

      • Bill Clintons Cigar

        Good point Tom…someone call 911 and tell them that J is awake and asking questions! Go to sleep J! Go to sleep!

      • Tom

        @ Tom

        No that would FOX NEWS that does that!

  • Marjorie

    Kevin, you a certifiable. I wonder who understands what you just posted. Do you?

    • llp

      I’m sorry isn’t the Greedy Old Party owned by the Koch brothers.

    • demsux

      Kevin, Keep up the good work. Nice to see one open minded person out here that really seems to dish it both ways. Most posters here are so far left, their computer monitors are sideways so they can read them. Good luck arguing with this bunch of idiots, they do not follow logic and common sense. If it is not spoon fed to them by the union or press, they can not comprehend it.

      • whocares

        Thank God I don’t follow anyone, I actually think for myself and I keep my eyes open and these two parties are no good they only give you idiots what you want to hear. If maybe you opened your eyes and really saw what both parties are like than there would be less trouble with the government because we as the people would actually take control of those we hired instead of them taking control of us.

      • Kevin

        Its my hobby…..with so many nameless morons…its funny……the left liberal morons are too busy spending my tax money on immigrants…and the right morons are too busy having sex on the capitol floor….they are both brain washed gerbal lovers….

        • Murph

          Puxatony Phil might make a good GOP president as well as most gerbils or even jack rabbits! Instead of these better choices.They might end up with a reptilian Newt or worse! The Repugnantones just keep sliding away from being hominids by the hour! They will sacrifice your grandparents for more tax money to give to their donors.Just wait and see! That would slide them down to puff adder status!

  • See BS

    According to WCCO, Lawyers gave $38 Million Dollars in political contributions in 2008. (81% to the DNC)

    So why are lawyers and lawfirms so free to give money to the Democratic Party?

    • Bill Clintons Cigar

      @ See BS my lord another one has waken! Someone call 911! Go to sleep BS. Go to sleep! Its all just a bad dream.

      • See BS

        Lawyers are chasing jobs to China and Mexico with insurance fraud and lawsuit abuse.

  • Bill Janklow Auto Insurance

    OMG! You make my day Kevin! Your mind is somewhere in opiate land! Run for Gov!

  • Greg

    Way to go Dayton!! Get these Republicans out of Minnesota….all of them!!

    • sarn

      And take all of their citizen supporters with them so that everyone left over can starve as there will be no more hard working tax payers left to support them.

      • Kevin

        Right on the spot sarn! Right on the spot! Morons like Greg are too busy being mean and bullying! You know a typical liberal moron who does not do what he preaches……when it all ends…they will be the first to go…..

        • Tom

          @ Kevin

          Actually when you are talking about being mean and bullying, or talking about not doing what he preaches, etc, that is not the Dems that is conservatives!

  • Believer

    I don’t know about the other three, but one of the proposed reforms was to free up the court systems through the institution of lawyer “penalties”. Basically, if a plantiff in a lawsuit was given a settlement proposal and their lawyer proposed to the plantiff to reject, if the case then went to court and the decision in favor of the plaintiff was less beneficial (than the settlement would have been), the plaintiff’s lawyer would not receive a penny for their work.

    Kind of a no-brainer if you ask me. Lawyers benefit by having cases go to court (more fees) – why would Dayton look out for the little guy?

    The truly frustrating issue here is that the reform bills were ALL bi-partisan!

  • Believer

    Oops, misspelled “plaintiff” a couple of times…


    All lawsuits should be loser pays!!!!!

    • Tom

      @ MC HAMMER

      I agree with you with certain lawsuits in the past. Like sueing eatiers for coffee being to HOT, etc.

  • Murph

    In Wisc the GOP acts like the mafia.Gov. Walker took an illegal 50K donation from a railroad.Then gave the railroad 14 million taxpayer dollars! Today he and his cronies are saying they will take a big chunk of the homeowner relief money .DESIGNATED TO RECOMPENSE CHEATED ROBO SIGNING VICTIMS to try to balance the huge shortfall in the state finances that they said was balanced before this.Funny that both the shortfall claim and the homeowner news came out on the same day! It is time to put these GOP crooks in jail! Watch the GOP in Minnesota try the same thing if Wisc. Repugnants get away with it!

    • demsux

      Murph, what does the idiots in Wisconsin have to do with our Governor Idiot? You seem to like to flame throw all Republicans and take stories that put your beloved Democratic Governor in a bad light. Your Party is every bit as bad as the Party in control in Wisconsin. By the Way, do you write for WCC0?

      • Murph

        Actually I write to warn people about predators out to STEAL their money! The shoe fits all politicians just about. But the GOP’ers have bigger feet and smaller brains so they are easier to identify! The FBI would have no problem convicting a thousand poiticians a year! It’s just that some are more obvious than others Wisconsin has a crooked Governor and everyone with any smarts knows it,including the Feds! As far as I can tell your Governor is a rare clean one! Walker is the GOP governor of the year! So how bad are the rest of them? Point made!

        • Sonjay

          Our clueless govenor hides all his money in South Dakota, so how exactly is he clean? Ohhh cleaning up, well hopefully he’s able to kick his rubber cement sniffing addiction.

          • Tom

            @ Sonjay

            You are the clueless one! When this issue about this money came up all the pundits, except conservatives of course, knows that Dayton has no control over that money

  • G Dog

    Protect companies, not people – that’s the Republican way.

    • Grynch

      Give undeserved privileges to the minority of the people at the majority of the peoples expense – that’s the Liberal way.

      Post a comment that has no relation to the article what so ever just to rip on a particular political party like an extremist would do – that’s the G Dog way.

      • G Dog

        Hope you don’t get cancer 3 years and 1 day after exposure to a carcinogen. That’s what you are supporting. Ask folks with asbestos related cancer if the statute of limitations should be shortened to 3 years from 6. Or coal miners, or construction workers, or factory workers working with highly toxic materials, or purchasers of cabinets treated with formaldehyde. Grynch – how do you know if the guys who did the remodeling to your house used safe materials?

        If holding companies accountable for the dangers they subject people to is “undeserved privileges”, I think you are dangerously warped, Grynch.

        • Tom

          OMG. Are you saying without lawyers we would all die?

          If stupidity was an Olympic sport, you would be a gold medalist.

        • Grynch

          They have laws in place to protect people from that kind of thing. Unions were necessary when they first started but people aren’t getting their heads chopped off in meat grinders on a daily basis anymore. I’ve worked for a private sector company all my life and never have I needed any sort of protection from the government because my employers treat me more than fair and never has a penny of my salary, profit sharing, or commission came from tax payers dollars.

        • Grynch

          And the infrastructure of my house is perfectly fine. I chose a good private sector, local business to do it for me at a fair rate.

        • Tom

          @ G Dog

          You can’t reason with people like the “Grynch” who live in bubble.

      • Kevin

        Grynch…..your brilliant! Thats the smartest thing I have read on here.

        • Tom

          @ Kevin

          You would say that since you are just as nuts as the “Grynch” and live in the same bubble and suffer from the same delusions!

    • G Better

      Look G-dog, you and the rest of the filthy aids-spreading democrats just don’t get it. Companies are made up of people. Shareholders in public companies are people. If your too stoopid to see that, please don’t reproduce!

      • G Dog

        I don’t put on kneepads for any CEO. Obviously you do.

        • Tom

          @ G Dog

          That is true! All these conservatives who love Corp, and their shareholders and hate unions love getting on theirs knees. And they want to rest of us to join them.

    • Kevin

      You know instead spewing your ignorant bs…try throwing a fact out once in awhile…maybe then someone will listen to your bs rants.

  • fact is

    sad systems anyways…loan sharks wrecking the economies of countries…putting the bill on millions of people…Goldman Sachs…US bank…Wells Far…Morgan Chase…Citi…here lies the worlds top criminals

  • Tom

    “too extreme to lead”

    Name calling? What is Dayton, a five year old?

  • Sonjay

    G Dog is against companies because it reminds him that there are people with jobs who pay taxes unlike himself. His mindless blithering statements show that you can’t fix stupid.

    • G Dog

      I paid $34000 in state and federal taxes last year Sonjay. How about you?

      The difference between us is that I care about all of us. You care about you.

  • G Dog

    Anything less than slavery is unacceptable to the GOP

    • Bill Janklow

      Shut up and get my a beer.

  • Iron Ranger

    I have to laugh. How is any of this going to produce jobs? I thought this was going to be the jobs creation session. I guess voter id and gay marriage is more important than putting Minnesotans to work. The repubs are going to be sent packing come November. You know this is true because if the repubs can stop one person from voting illegally it is worth having a state of workers making eight dollars an hour.

  • Kevin

    @Marjorie…..I will key slower for you hun…….Dayton bought his election……Dayton is a moron….keeping up with me hun? And the GOP are very busy having sex on the floor…..so they can not lead…..Al Franken….moved back to MN to also buy his election….after his radio station “Air America” failed…..because his is a moron….you with me hun? so maybe Al and Dayton…since neither on has a clue….should make video tape the GOP having sex…do you remember sex hun?? Then they could sell the political porn movies….and use the money for welfare payments to the somali community….ok hun daddy is busy….but if you need me to go over it one more time…let me know…..

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