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When investors discuss “the next big thing,” they’re generally speculating about innovations that might spur major economic growth. When personal injury lawyers and certain interest group executives talk about the next big thing these days, however, it’s quite possible they’re referring to vague and broadly worded state consumer protection acts (CPAs) ripe for exploitation. After all, several plaintiffs attorneys and their physician allies are now under criminal investigation for allegedly fraudulent asbestosis and silicosis claims. Recent court rulings suggest the tobacco gravy train is running out of steam. The “I’m-fat-and-fast-food-companies-are-to-blame” lawsuits haven’t gotten much traction. And the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to amplify its 2003 State Farm v. Campbell decision against excessive punitive damages.

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