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“The successful man will profit from his mistakes and try again in a different way.” ~ Dale Carnegie

Attorneys general from 31 states are demanding that mobile phone makers “take all steps necessary to put consumer safety and security ahead of corporate profits…”

Leading this effort is New York’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, who says that if all smartphones had a simple “kill switch,” consumers would be safer.  With this anti-theft technology, Schneiderman says, if a thief steals your phone, and you report it, the phone would be deactivated, making it completely useless. Obviously, if thieves know that the product they are stealing can be rendered worthless with a simple switch, they would pursue different targets.

“The companies that dominate this industry have a responsibility to their customers to fulfill their promises to ensure safety and security,” said Schneiderman.  He opines that mobile phone makers have the capability today, but have no financial incentive to make the change because consumers spend $30 billion a year to replace lost and stolen phones.  “They’re in business; it’s all about money,” he said.

Kathleen Rice, Nassau County, N.Y. district attorney, also endorses this campaign effort.  “Millions of Americans have been victims of smartphone theft, some even losing their lives, so all smartphone makers must take swift action to help stop these thefts that continue to endanger their customers.”   Apparently, if the companies refuse to comply, the AGs will consider legal action.

For the record, I absolutely support this effort.  If safety and theft prevention can be accomplished with a simple “switch” or phone application, it is a no-brainer.  I am also not surprised at corporate reluctance to put customer safety and security ahead of company profits.  However, I detest the selective politics of this.  Why don’t attorneys general around the country, why don’t politicians in general routinely campaign for safety over profits?    Shouldn’t safety be mandated from every industry – automotive, healthcare, etc. alike?  Why do the AGs choose mobile phone theft risk to put safety over profits, only to ignore those same concerns elsewhere.

Here are some examples:  Why do legislatures across the country mandate accountability and responsibility for brand name drugs (except for Michigan’s embarrassing anti-consumer drug immunity statute), but not for generics?  Those manufacturers get a free pass to produce dangerous drugs without accountability for injury or death.  Why don’t these same legislators mandate increases in auto insurance policy limits?  Some states have minimum limits as low as $10,000.00.  If you are killed by a drunk driver with $10,000 worth of liability insurance, how is your family going to support itself?   Shouldn’t there be more accountability than that?  When doctors botch a surgery in a state where tort reform has limited the victim’s recovery to $250,000, where are attorneys general cries for justice for the victims?  Why do product makers enjoy limited accountability and damages restrictions?  Why haven’t workers compensation benefits or other government limited benefits kept up with inflation?  I could go on and on.

Ask a legislator, ask a citizen:  “What is more important to you?  Corporate products or public safety?  Both constituencies would answer:  “Public safety, of course”!  Yet, the legislator takes Pac money from corporations and consistently votes for corporate profits over public safety in the form of limits on liability, limits on damages, limits on access to the courts.  And the citizen?  Who voted for this anti-citizen, pro-corporate profit politician in the first instance?  Who put him/her into the office he/she now uses to benefit profits over people?

I’d like to put a kill switch on stupidity.  I have an idea: Let’s put a kill switch on the arms of those who would cast a vote for these people?  As they go to pull the lever for an anti-citizen candidate, the switch causes them to pull the lever for the pro-citizen opponent.  Let’s put a kill switch on anti-citizen politicians.  Why do they vote for legislation that is clearly not in the broad interests of their constituents?  Why are they so willing to ignore individual rights in support of corporate interests?  Every time a politician announces that he/she will vote in support of some anti-citizen tort reform legislation, I press the switch and kill the vote.  The Rick Perry’s of the world would be rendered moot at the flick of a switch!

The attorneys general say that if no changes are made, they will consider legal action.  I fully support them.  However, I encourage them to go even further:  I encourage them to support full accountability across the board.  Stop the all anti-citizen, pro-corporate profit activities and legislation.  If a corporation is negligent, let a jury say so and award all of the damages that it deems appropriate, without government interference, without legislative intervention.  Why permit corporations to harm citizens then restrict accountability?  The outrage over mobile phone theft strikes me as disingenuous, a distinction without a difference.

So, we issue this challenge to all participating AG’s in the mobile phone accountability movement:  You are the public’s attorneys.  You represent the consumer and consumer safety.  We, the people, need your help in protecting us from serious harm caused by corporate negligence and greed.  Engage in a national battle to put people and safety ahead of corporations and profits.  Our country (and you, our attorneys general) should stand for the proposition that all corporations are held fully accountable when their products harm, maim, or kill innocent citizens. We need to fight for personal safety over corporate profits, in every case. We cannot ask it of the mobile phone manufacturers if we are unwilling to require it for all other industries.  That’s Lawsuit Financial’s challenge; are you up to the task?

Mark Bello has thirty-six years experience as a trial lawyer and fourteen years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by a plaintiff involved in pending, personal injury, litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Member of Public Justice, Public Citizen, the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board

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