Hazardous to Your Health: How the Civil Justice System Holds Corporate Polluters Accountable

Text Size

Hazardous to Your Health: How the Civil Justice System Holds Corporate Polluters Accountable 

In 1989, the Exxon Valdez struck a reef off the Alaskan coast and spilled more than 10 million gallons of oil over 1,000 miles of remote coastline. Exxon’s immediate response to what would become one of the most devastating environmental disasters ever to occur was to embark on a campaign to avoid responsibility that would last decades. Now, 20 years later, another tragic oil spill threatens long-term devastation on the environment. If history is any judge, BP will likely fight efforts to hold it accountable for years, if not decades.

Corporations have consistently responded to the environmental disasters they have caused by passing the buck for as long as possible. As time passes they know initial outrage will dim, media scrutiny will move on, political administrations will change, and the regulators will go through the revolving door to join the industry they once watched.

Laws passed in the 1960s and 1970s were supposed to protect the environment, but lax enforcement left corporations with little incentive to comply. Ultimately, trial attorneys were the ones who sought justice for communities destroyed by corporate polluters. Without the civil justice system, many corporate polluters would never have been held accountable for the disaster they caused.

AAJ Release: Decades of Environmental Disasters Show Role of Civil Justice System in Holding Polluters Accountable

Download AAJ's report, "Hazardous to Your Health: How the Civil Justice System Holds Corporate Polluters Accountable"

Below is an image that details five examples of how trial attorneys and the civil justice system have cleaned up the environment and held polluters accountable.  Click here to receive a printable version of the slide.

oilspill chemical
contaminated poison
dirtyair

The American Association for Justice
777 6th Street, NW, Ste 200 • Washington, DC  20001 • 800.424.2725 or 202.965.3500

© 2014 AAJ