A few weeks ago I alerted readers to the new movie Hot Coffee and the vital message it has for all of us as Americans. It is important that we educate ourselves concerning attempts by powerful corporations to curtail access to our courts. Now, the American Association for Justice has done us all a service by taking on one of the most powerful organs of corporate America, the United States Chamber of Commerce.
As a recent article on AAJ’s website lays out, though the C of C complains loudly and often about excessive lawsuits which are supposedly clogging our courts, “the U.S. Chamber is actually one of the most aggressive litigators in Washington D.C., entering lawsuits at a rate of twice weekly.” At the same time, however, the Chamber, through its Institute for Legal Reform, lobbies heavily “for legislation that would close the courthouse doors on anyone who would attempt to hold negligent corporations accountable.”
As every Portland personal injury attorney can attest, the barriers corporate America puts in the way of ordinary citizens seeking to confront powerful companies whom they believe have wronged them are formidable. Contrary to popular belief, getting to court is not easy. Winning in court is even harder, especially when one is faced with powerful and deep-pocketed corporate adversaries. As the article notes, the Chamber’s ILR branch “has the sole mission of making it more difficult for individuals harmed by negligent corporations to access the civil justice system.” The article contains a link to two detailed AAJ reports documenting the Chamber and ILR’s activities.
Fighting back against corporate attempts to stack the legal system against ordinary people is one of the most important jobs that every Portland personal injury attorney takes on. The vast majority of lawsuits are far from frivolous. Rather, they are attempts by ordinary Americans to protect their rights, and to see that justice is done. That is not something we ought to have to fight for in 21st century America but, unfortunately, it is.
American Association for Justice: The U.S. Chamber’s Hypocrisy Problem