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Press Release

Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing Taking Aim at Americans’ Rights

November 08,2017

Washington, DC— Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on limiting Americans’ rights to access the nation’s courts. At a time when consumers, workers, and small businesses already face major hurdles when going up against powerful corporations, today’s hearing failed to address meaningful efforts to increase and protect Americans’ access to justice, even as corporations and big banks continue to rip off and harm millions of consumers and workers throughout the country.

“Sitting in the audience at today’s hearing was a patient who suffered from a preventable medical error, a woman who endured sexual harassment in the workplace, and the families of loved ones who died from asbestos related diseases,” said American Association for Justice CEO Linda Lipsen. “Congress should be assuring that these individuals have a fair path to justice, but instead the Committee used its resources to bolster corporations and big banks that put consumers at risk and want immunity when they cause harm.”

Today’s hearing was just the latest attack on the Constitutional rights of Americans. Last month, the Senate voted to protect big banks and corporations like Wells Fargo and Equifax that prey on their customers to increase their profits when they overturned the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) forced arbitration rule.

Below are statements from Americans who have been harmed by negligence or abuse and have looked to the civil justice system to seek accountability. They attended today’s hearing to make sure that the Committee was aware that real people’s lives hang in the balance of their actions:

Tia Holloman, Washington D.C. – Sexually assaulted in the workplace and forced into arbitration.

“I was sexually assaulted at work, but I learned I couldn’t go to court and never got justice. Behind every one of these forced arbitrations is a person like me. I would like to think that elected officials care about that, but maybe I’m wrong.”

Andy Goldsmith, Ellicott City, Maryland – Lost his father to mesothelioma, an asbestos‐related disease.

“My father’s illness could have been prevented. Congress should be focused on helping families cope with the gruesome sickness and loss of a loved one, instead of protecting companies that knowingly expose people to deadly asbestos.”

Adriana Plevniak, Falls Church, Virginia – Preventable medical error blinded her in the left eye.

“It’s hard to imagine that Congress would act to limit my legal rights to hold careless medical providers accountable.”

Susan Vento, St. Paul, Minnesota – Lost her husband, former U.S. Rep. Bruce Vento, to pleural mesothelioma.

“It’s insulting that Congress would push to make it harder for victims and their families to seek justice for their injuries and suffering by allowing the asbestos industry to evade accountability after knowingly perpetrating this disaster.”

Linda Moore, Wilmington, Delaware – Lost her husband to mesothelioma.

“My husband fought hard for his life, and we fought hard for justice in court. Mesothelioma sufferers and their families should not be revictimized by policies that let the asbestos industry dodge accountability.”

Daryl DeHaven, Westfield, New York – Car dealership owner ripped off by car parts manufacturers who rigged and price fixed parts.

“When American businesses are ripped off by criminal price fixing, business owners and consumers pay the price. Together, as members of a class, we are able to present a united front for justice.”

Sammi Swing