Attention: Sweepers in Warm Weather States!

Sweepers should support D.C. fly-in to for frivolous lawsuit bill

Some things are – as Pete Phillips, president of Clean Sweep Inc. and current president of the North American Power Sweeping Association (NAPSA) puts it – “a slam dunk.”

The upcoming fly-in Sept. 4-5 in Washington D.C. to convince senators to vote for the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act (Senate Bill 237) is a perfect example (see article page xx).

The Act has been written and shepherded though Congress by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) with strong support from the Accredited Snow Contractors Association (ASCA) and Kevin Gilbride, ASCA’s executive director. They’ve been at it for more than two years and they got the bill passed in the House of Representatives. All that’s standing in the way of the President’s signature is passage in the Senate.

To make sure that happens ASCA needs the support of NAPSA’s members – and frankly of all sweepers – so here’s hoping sweepers step up.

The Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act is aimed at reducing the number of frivolous lawsuits, certainly one of the biggest problems contractors face. Spend even a few minutes talking with most sweeping contractors and you’ll probably hear a tale of an unwarranted lawsuit they got dragged into – and which had an unsatisfactory outcome.

Under current law there’s no incentive for attorneys not to file a case to make a few easy bucks, but the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act would make them think twice. That’s because the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act would require judges to sanction attorneys and their plaintiffs who file lawsuits that are found to be frivolous (currently sanctions are at the judge’s discretion) and it would require attorneys to do research before filing a case (currently they can file within 21 days of the event without any research at all).

Passage in the Senate and a likely signature from the President would certainly reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits, and that would probably have a positive impact on your rising insurance rates and your bottom line (and your peace of mind).

A slam dunk for sure.

But ASCA needs the support of NAPSA and the sweeping industry to get this bill passed. More specifically, ASCA needs the support of sweeping contractors in warm weather states where snow removal isn’t an issue. These sweepers need to step up with their stories of frivolous lawsuits and the impact those lawsuits had on their business to demonstrate to senators that this problem is about more than just snow removal; it’s about any unwarranted lawsuits that insurance companies settle just to make them go away or to avoid more costly litigation. And to convince senators outside the Snow Belt to support the bill ASCA needs to provide examples of how contractors in non-snow states have the same problem.

So if you’re a NAPSA member, especially if you’re a NAPSA member in a warm weather state, mark your calendar, buy your plane ticket and make your hotel reservation. If you’re a sweeper and not a NAPSA member, mark your calendar as well and get in touch with either NAPSA ([email protected]) or ASCA ([email protected]; phone 216-393-0303). Or you can simply register for the fly-in at https://www.regonline.com/registration/Checkin.aspx?EventID=2209127.

Sweepers don’t want to be looking back at 2018 wishing they’d taken the time to visit D.C. to make their case. ASCA has essentially done all the work and laid the groundwork for legislation that will benefit virtually all contractors.

As Pete Phillips said, “I can’t think of anything more important to the sweeping industry at this time. It’s time for NAPSA members to flex their muscle.”

We couldn’t agree more.

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