THE OTHER SIDE OF THE LAWSUIT ABUSE CAMPAIGN
A campaign by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform says frivolous lawsuits are harmful and damaging to small businesses. The Chamber created an initiative last December, entitled the Faces of Lawsuit Abuse. The goal was to give examples of some of the lawsuits that have cost small business owners major legal fees, and oftentimes, the dissolution of their business.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce defends “faceless corporations” who have been victimized by so-called “abusive lawsuits”. However, The Chamber’s own financial disclosures reveal that its Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) is funded by corporations who have demonstrated misconduct. Some corporations on the Chamber board include Wal-Mart, Citigroup, AIG, Bank of America, and a number of insurance and drug companies. The board of directors of the Institute for Legal Reform includes corporations that earned over $1.4 trillion in 2007.
This, in fact, is in direct contrast to the claim of the Chamber that it serves the interests of small business but is really looking after giant multi-billion dollar corporations. The latest campaign by the Chamber and ILR will promote their message through television, radio and on-line advertisements in early 2009. An election night poll commissioned by the ILR said 83 percent of voters believe the number of frivolous lawsuits in the country is a problem.
However, the National Federation of Independent Business released a survey just this summer that showed “costs and frequency of lawsuits” ranked at the bottom of small business’ list of concerns. Prior surveys of small businesses from Business Week and the National Association of Manufacturers also showed litigation was not a concern.
SOURCE: AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF JUSTICE