U.S. Chamber: Civil Justice Hypocrites

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For Immediate Release: October 27, 2010

Contact: Jamie Hammon
American Association for Justice
202-965-3500 x8369
AAJ Press Room

U.S. Chamber: Civil Justice Hypocrites

Chamber enters over two lawsuits weekly; report shows corporate front group litigates aggressively for own agenda, while blocking justice for everyday Americans

Washington, D.C.—Earlier this month, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Donohue called litigation “one of our most powerful tools for making sure that federal agencies follow the law and are held accountable.”

Yet ironically, the Chamber today holds its annual Legal Reform Summit – an event underwritten by its multinational corporate members that promotes undermining the civil justice system to weaken the basic legal protections of American workers and consumers.

The Chamber’s hypocrisy – blocking justice for everyday Americans while using the courts liberally for its own pro-corporate agenda – is the subject of a new report released today by the American Association for Justice (AAJ) that exposes the Chamber as one of the most aggressive litigators in Washington, entering lawsuits at a rate of over twice weekly.

“The Chamber’s ‘one rule for corporations, another rule for everybody else’ motto has come at the expense of ill-treated workers, defrauded investors and injured consumers,” said AAJ President Gibson Vance. “It readily spends millions of dollars to prevent Americans from holding wrongdoers accountable in the courtroom, and then aggressively uses the very same legal system to advance the agenda of its multinational corporate membership.”

In almost every case, the Chamber’s litigation on behalf of corporations has come at the expense of Americans’ health or financial security. The Chamber has:

  • justified the actions of Wall Street banks that drove the country’s economy into turmoil;
  • defended the most conceited and worst behaved CEOs and their most extravagant excesses;
  • tried to force workers, instead of employers, to pay for their own safety equipment;
  • filed numerous actions opposing any move to combat climate change;
  • sought to shield pharmaceutical executives who skirted safety procedures that ultimately killed 11 children;
  • opposed measures allowing workers to receive a rest period during a full work day;
  • fought on behalf of lead paint manufacturers found to have poisoned thousands of children;
  • defended corporations that discriminated on the basis of race and disability;
  • and spent years defending big tobacco, asbestos companies and chemical companies found to have contaminated water and air.

“The Chamber has every right to seek what it believes to be justice in a court of law, even if representing the most deplorable corporate interests,” said Vance. “But it must learn that this right to justice belongs not just to their organization, or big business generally, but to all Americans.”

The report, titled “The Chamber Litigation Machine: How the Chamber Uses Lawsuits to Keep Americans out of Court,” can be found at www.justice.org/USChamber.

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