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April 29, 2012
Salem News

State Rep Newbold responds to letter

I read the article (Letter to editor, April 1) about the changes to the Consumer Protection Laws and I think some points were missed.

Mr. Barborak talks about the innocent victims, and certainly there are some and they deserve fair compensation, but the changes in the law do not take that away from any legitimate victim.

What this legislative change addresses are the frivolous lawsuits that end up costing all of us more, and cost businesses in expensive insurances to fight these frivolous suits. According to the US Federal News, civil lawsuits cost the US economy over $200 billion per year and every taxpayer in the US is now paying what amounts to a "lawsuit tax" of around $700-$800 per year. Is this money well spent?

Remember the woman who sued McDonald's because her hot coffee was.wellhot? Or how about the woman who sued a TV station because they forecast good weather but it ended up raining? She sued claiming the forecast caused her to underdress which caused her to get the flu which caused her to miss a week of work, and then there were the medical expenses, and of course, the stress she endured!

Give us all a break! Do any of us really think these were fair lawsuits to protect "innocent" victims, or that these were companies that set out to intentionally harm someone? Having to protect themselves against such frivolous suits means companies pay for more and more insurance and when that cost gets passed along, who do you think ends up paying for the nonsense? Each and every one of us! Personally I believe we all have better things to do with $700 or $800 a year.

Tort reform has been needed for a long time, not to stop legitimate suits with real victimsbut for those unscrupulous people who will team up with any shady lawyer willing to file a suit just to try to force businesses to fork over insurance money...and we all pay for that!

No one, including me, has an issue with innocent people who have become victimized getting a fair and just settlement from a company. But I, for one, am happy to know that we won't be paying triple damages or increased prices for goods and services just to cover frivolous suits, or the expenses of those lawyers who promote them. Just because it rains, shouldn't mean the money has to pour...not out of our pockets.


East Liverpool

Newbold doesn't understand difference

To the editor:

It's clear from his letter trashing consumer protection laws that State Rep. Craig Newbold doesn't understand the difference between tort reform and consumer protection laws. Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine calls the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act the most important law protecting Ohio's families and children from "unfair, deceptive and unconscionable sales practices."

Mr. Newbold cites the famous McDonald's coffee case which was actually a product liability case to justify scrapping efforts to protect the average person from fraudulent salesmen.

Mr. Newbold said "remember the woman who sued McDonald's because her coffee waswellhot?" In fact, I do remember that woman. Her name was Stella Liebeck and she was 79 years old in 1992.

Here are the facts:

1. Stella asked her grandson to drive her through the McDonald's drive-thru in Albuquerque for a cup of coffee. Her grandson passed the cup to her, pulled forward and parked. Stella then placed the cup between her legs to add cream and sugar. When she removed the lid, the entire cup spilled into her lap. The coffee scalded her groin, thighs and buttocks.

2. Stella was rushed to the hospital where she remained for eight days. She was treated for third degree burns over 6 percent of her body and suffered lesser burns over 16 percent of her body. She underwent skin grafting to repair the damage from her burns. Stella lost 20 pounds over those eight days and weighed just 83 pounds when she was released from the hospital.

3. In several years leading up to Stella's injuries, McDonald's had received more than 700 complaints of injuries to customers from their coffee, including complaints of third degree burns. McDonald's settled most of these complaints out of court including one $230,000 settlement.

4. Stella had never before filed a lawsuit against anyone and said she wouldn't have brought suit against McDonald's if they had just agreed to pay her medical bills.

5. Stella offered to settle her claim for just the costs of her medical expenses, an estimated $20,000. Instead, McDonald's offered her only $800 and rejected all attempts at settlement including the recommendations of a mediator.

6. A McDonald's quality assurance manager testified that the company was aware of the risks of serving dangerously hot coffee but had no plans to either turn down the heat or post warnings about the possibility of severe burns even though they knew most customers wouldn't think severe burns were possible.

7. Ultimately, a jury of average people-not judges, lawyers or bureaucrats-decided in Stella's favor after seven days of trial.

Mr. Newbold now mocks Stella Liebeck, and that jury, in an attempt to distort the truth. But most importantly, it's clear from both his letter and his voting record in the House of Representatives that Mr. Newbold serves to protect the interests of the McDonald's of this world over the interests of the Mrs. Liebeck's of this world.

The question is . . . who is representing us?


Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, retired

HB 493 doesn't go far enough

To the editor:

I have advocated for fundamental fairness when it comes to royalties for local oil and gas leases especially for persons affected by the Brinker Storage Field here in Columbiana County. State Representative Mark Okey who represents neighboring counties in the Ohio House of Representatives has recently proposed legislation, HB 493, that would set all future oil and gas royalties at a minimum 15 percent of the gross revenues. This is a positive step forward but it does not go far enough.

Many of our neighbors in this county trapped within the Brinker Field will receive a mind-boggling $200 per year because of lease language that was drafted, in some instances, more than 70 years ago.

The legislature must step forward to protect these families from this unconscionable injustice. Minimum royalties must be established for those caught in the Brinker gap. How can this be accomplished? One simple way would be to deny drilling permits for any drilling units that include leases that fail to meet the minimum royalty. This would not only bring about fairness, but would also serve to keep more of the proceeds of our valuable natural resources right here benefiting our local economy.

This problem demands swift action. We cannot pass on the opportunity to secure the future of our neighbors. Those locked in the Brinker Storage Field need our immediate support to take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity. It is my hope that the legislature is listening.



Citizen of Honor humbled by welcome

To the editor:

The Salem Historical Society celebrated its 42nd Founders Day with recognition of two "Citizens of Honor." When my name was called upon to speak, I was welcomed with a standing ovation!

It was, indeed, an unexpected, electrifying moment! I could not possibly respond to each person in the audience, thus, I take this opportunity to say a very humble "thank you" to each and every one who was there, including the members of the class of '46.



Thanks the good people who responded

To the editor:

Often in life you hear of good things happening to good people. They get the job they've been striving for, they fall in love, or for more fortunate individuals, they even hit the lottery. Sometimes though, life deals you a hand you are not ready to play.

Recently, a lot of people lost a dear friend, and a little girl lost her mother. Through this unfortunate tragedy, people of which have never spoken before joined hands to help a little girl some have never even met.

For all the wonderful people who donated baskets, and food, and gift certificates, thank you. To all the generous people who donated money, no matter how large or small the amount, thank you. To all the truly amazing people who took time out of their Saturday afternoon to come and help run the benefit, bartenders, auctions, 50/50, and door, guys, thank you.

To Brent and Becky Rupert for giving us your place of business, and donating such an enormous amount of food for everyone, we are truly grateful. Due to the amount of help and generosity we were able to raise a significant amount of money for this little girl. Nothing can take away the grief of losing Kristi, but with so much help her daughter Nahvara will have a nest to fall back on.

So to all of you who helped with the Kristina Bradway benefit, you are truly good people, thank you for everything.



Grateful for the sharing of coupons

To the editor:

A very big thanks to the two special ladies who gave my husband 10 manufacturer coupons for McCormick Spice envelopes at the Calcutta Giant Eagle last Thursday. It was very special and thoughtful of you and we greatly appreciated you sharing.

You told my adorable husband that I (his wife) would either kill him or kiss him! Believe me, it was kisses all around! Thanks again for being so thoughtful and kind! You restored our faith in the human race again. God bless you and may someone else do something equally as special and unexpected for you!


East Liverpool

Distressed by organ donor policy

To the editor:

To the editor:

Our 47-year old daughter died suddenly of a blood clot to her lung at Mercy Hospital's emergency room in Baltimore, Md. The hospital called us and wanted to know if we would like to donate her eyes, organs, skin and bones. We agreed to do so.

Two hours later, we received a call from the hospital telling us that they had checked our daughter's background and found that she had lived and worked in Prague, Chech Republic, in 1989 to 1991 (20 years ago, when she was 27). Therefore, she might have taken a drug that was not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and this was the reason they could not use any of her body parts.

If a person dies in the emergency room, the hospital is required to do an autopsy. One was performed on our daughter, and they found that her organs were perfect in size, weight and color.

The policy of the FDA has upset us. If it had been a loved one of ours who was sick, we would have been happy to use any organ, if it were a match, from a person who lived in a country 20 years ago and might have taken a drug that wasn't approved by the FDA. Look at the number of people who could have used her body parts!

It seems this policy needs to be reviewed by our government as to how long you were out of the country when it comes to determining whether someone is eligible to donate organs. Do they also go back 30 or 40 years?





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