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Report Exposes Chamber’s ‘Civil Justice Hypocrisy’

By Martin & Jones on November 4, 2010

A new report published by the American Association for Justice (AAJ) points out the hypocrisy of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in working to block justice for everyday Americans while frequently litigating in support of its own agenda. The report is titled “The Chamber Litigation Machine: How the Chamber Uses Lawsuits to Keep Americans Out of Court.” The report notes that the Chamber is one of the most aggressive litigators in Washington, filing its own lawsuits and entering into the fray of others’ lawsuits more than 130 times a year. At the same time, the Chamber has spent hundreds of millions of dollars financing efforts to close the courthouse doors to ordinary Americans through lobbying campaigns, advertising, and aggressive support of anti-consumer political candidates.

The Chamber represents the interests of large multi-national corporations. The Chamber has aggressively worked to further the interest of those corporations through support of pro-business political candidates, massive lobbying campaigns, advertising, and participation in lawsuits supporting corporate interests. The AAJ report notes that the Chamber’s efforts have routinely come at the expense of ordinary Americans’ health or financial security. The AAJ report notes that the Chamber has:

  • Justified the actions of Wall Street banks that drove the country’s economy into turmoil
  • Sought to shield pharmaceutical executives who skirted safety procedures that ultimately killed 11 children
  • Tried to force workers, instead of employers, to pay for their own safety equipment
  • 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
  • Spent years defending big tobacco, asbestos company, and chemical companies found to have contaminated water and air

The Chamber appeared in 131 cases in 2009. At the same time, the Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform spent more than $40 million in efforts to reduce litigation and to prevent injured Americans from pursuing justice in the courtroom.

Visit the AAJ’s website to review the report, “The Chamber Litigation Machine: How the Chamber Uses Lawsuits to Keep Americans Out of Court,”and press release.