Letter to the editor of Wall Street Journal:
Regarding your editorial “The Tort Bar Burns On” (July 23), I am a trial lawyer in Encino, California. I offer the following observation:
Your writer misses the point in discussing gasoline can litigation. A serious gasoline burn injury can easily result in multiple millions of dollars in medical expenses. Five to ten million in total costs are not unusual for younger victims with normal lifespans and catastrophic injuries.
So it comes down to, who pays for this, the manufacturer who profits from a product causing injury — in your article Blitz USA —or the public through increased taxes?
An internet search shows Blitz USA reports annual sales in the 20m-50m range. Using the upper limit, and assuming profit margins at a generous twenty percent, then Blitz’ annual profit would equal the real damages in about one serious burn case. Few can pay such costs on their own, so the taxpayers are generally on the hook.
Seen in this light, your article argues for higher taxes to subsidize private industry. Personally, I believe that strategy is a loser.