US Chamber Hypocrisy On Lawsuit Abuse
Brett EmisonOctober 26, 2011 1:07 PM
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The American Association for Justice has released a scathing report on the hypocrisy of US Chamber of Commerce and its members regarding tort reform, access to civil justice, and lawsuit abuse. The AAJ report is entitled, Do As I Say, Not As I Sue: Exposing the Lawsuit-Happy Hypocrites of U.S. Chamber's Institute for Legal Reform.
As the report details, the US Chamber's Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the US Chamber of Commerce with the sole mission of restricting the ability of individuals harmed by negligent corporations to access the civil justice system. These corporate giants claim they are hindered by too many lawsuits from injured persons, yet these same corporations have no hesitation in using the courthouse themselves.
The AAJ identified the top 10 ILR hypocrites, which includes:
- FedEx - ILR Board Member Since 2004. FedEx sued its own customer who had built an apartment full of furniture out of FedEx boxes, claiming the customer violated FedEx's trademarks and copyright. FedEx also sued a small business called Federal Espresso.
- General Motors - ILR Board Members Since 2007. GM sued its own workers for allegedly buying too many of GM's own vehicles under an employee discount program - even as GM extended that same program to the general public.
- Caterpillar - ILR Board Member Since 2005. Cat sued Disney because CAT believed the diggers in Disney's straight to DVD movie, George of the Jungle 2, saying the equipment was too villainous.
- State Farm - ILR Board Member Since 2003. State Farm sued the wrong person. Even in the face of mounting evidence of the wrongly identified person - and after admitting its mistake - State Farm refused to drop the case.
- Koch Industries - ILR Board Member Since 2007. The four Koch brothers - who inherited the company from their father - spent two decades suing each other over who should get how much of Koch's enormous wealth.
- Abbott Labs - ILR Board Member Since 2004. Abbott Labs sued its own spin-off, Hospira, over alleged patent infringement.
- Johnson & Johnson - ILR Board Member Since 2003. J&J sued the Red Cross over its use of the red cross symbol. J&J sought the destruction of Red Cross first aid kits bearing the red cross symbol along with punitive damages against the charity and payment of J&J's legal fees. The American Red Cross - established in 1881 - had amicably shared the red cross symbol with J&J for more than a century.
The AAJ report exposes the ILR's hypocrisy and its "one rule for us, another for them" mentality.
We all need to make sure these giant corporations do not encroach on our fundamental constitutional right to civil justice. We don't want a country where there is one rule for corporate giants, but a separate rule for regular people.
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