There Goes 'Responsibility in America,' Reform Group Says

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:21 PM EDT

( - When Sens. John F. Kerry and John Edwards visit Ohio together on Wednesday, they'll draw enthusiastic crowds -- but a group dedicated to fighting lawsuit abuse will not be among those cheering the ticket.

Ohio Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (OCALA) issued a statement on Tuesday, saying that Kerry's selection of a former personal-injury trial lawyer as his running mate "is a huge victory for personal injury lawyers and those who do not believe in personal responsibility."

Jeff Longstreth, executive director of OCALA, said Kerry, with so many qualified candidates to choose from, obviously picked the guy who can raise the most cash.

"It's bad enough that the trial bar has bought and paid for our court system in the United States -- now they are looking to buy the White House," said Longstreth. "Edwards isn't just beholden to the personal injury lawyers, he is one himself."

According to OCALA, each and every Ohioan now pays $809 a year to support a "broken" civil justice system, and if Kerry-Edwards win the White House, "that number will skyrocket," Longstreth said.

"The choice of Edwards as VP sounds the death knell for personal responsibility in America," Longstreth added.

Ohio Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse describes itself as a grassroots public education organization that serves as Ohio's "watchdog for justice."

"OCALA's mission is to inform the public about the cost of lawsuit abuse and to help ensure the legal system is used for justice, not greed," the group says.