The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the biggest lobby group in Washington and a trade group for corporations, releases its ‘lawsuit climate rankings’ every year. The Chamber’s rankings are not based on objectively verifiable information, but rather on the ‘impressions’ of corporate lawyers. There is no input from judges, injured people, or the attorneys that represent them. No part of this ‘survey’ actually analyzes whether the corporations whose lawyers provided the information for the survey behaved responsibly in terms of safety and fairness to consumers.
Recently, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Louisiana, a state that the Chamber repeatedly trashes in its ‘rankings,’ criticized the Chamber for peddling false information about the state’s civil justice system, stating that ‘this survey is not a valid measure of the efficiency or fairness of Louisiana’s courts.’ The Louisiana Chief Justice also referenced a study of the Chamber’s ‘rankings’ by Professor Theodore Eisenberg at the Cornell University School of Law in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies that exposes the Chamber’s deeply-flawed approach.
But ‘the brazen U.S. Chamber of Commerce‘ is not ashamed. The ‘rankings,’ like most of the Chamber’s other activities, are intended to create and maintain misperceptions about the efficiency and fairness of state legal systems. Because of the efforts of the Chamber and other corporate special interest groups, a jury of your peers has already had the ‘lawsuit crisis’ message drilled into their heads through expensive TV commercials. You are more likely to receive an unfair day in court because of the disingenuous efforts of the Chamber and its lobbyist allies. The Chamber therefore actually wants our civil justice system to be biased — in its corporate clients’ favor. The only focus of the Chamber is to protect corporate profits, including outrageous bonuses for corporate executives even while their corporations struggle.
Finally, it’s laughable that states like Texas, that have enacted the most ‘tort reform’ legislation, still end up on the Chamber’s hitlist. The Chamber pushes for tort reform, yet its annual ‘rankings’ show that tort reform isn’t working — all it does is make corporations richer.
(In case you’re wondering, the Chamber ranked North Carolina as the 17th best legal climate in the country — whatever that means!).