The following is a prepared statement by David Baria, president of the Mississippi Trial Lawyers. He is available for interview this afternoon (Wednesday, August 7). Please contact Pam Johnson at 948-8631 or 201-7142 for assistance.

"I find it ironic that the President would support protecting corporations from paying non-economic damages while on a visit to Mississippi. At the same time that the President is calling for $250,000 caps on damages, you can bet none of the laid off WorldCom employees or destitute pensioners could pay $25,000 to see him face to face at his fancy fund-raiser.

"I am sure the people who could afford to pay $25,000 to have tea and cookies with the President are very concerned about caps on damages, but the folks who couldn't afford to be in that room are the ones who are going to be hurt.

"Tort reform sounds real good when it's about somebody else. But, when it's your daughter who's been killed, or your leg that's been crippled, or your pension that's been stolen, it's a different story. Most people want to maintain their own right to receive adequate compensation for being wronged; it's the other person's right they want capped. We believe Mississippians who serve on juries should make those decisions.

"When the Legislative Task Force meets next week to report recommendations on the legal system in Mississippi, I am confident they will be looking at the facts, and not silly partisan campaign slogans. One of the facts they will be looking at is the fact that caps on non-economic damages will not lower medical malpractice insurance. Caps don't help anybody except corporations and insurance companies. The tort reformers already know that, but I guess they don't want to let the facts confuse a good story."

To suggest an addition to the list of newspapers or television stations, please contact Beth Pace at 601-948-8631.