How the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Uses Lawsuits to Keep Consumers Out of Court
According to Justice.org, run by the American Association for Justice (AAJ), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce restricts the average American consumer’s ability to file suit when injured by defective products, fraudulent services or dangers at work. Perhaps a bit ironically, the Chamber prevents consumer litigation by being one of the most aggressive litigators in Washington, D.C.
The Chamber works through two litigation machines: the Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) and the National Chamber Litigation Center (NCLC). The ILR focuses on restricting the ability of individuals harmed by negligent corporations to file suit while the NCLC focuses on limiting regulations and establishing corporate immunity.
On average, the Chamber becomes involved in over two lawsuits each week. Per AAJ President Gibson Vance, the Chamber “readily spends millions of dollars to prevent Americans from holding wrongdoers accounting in the courtroom, and then aggressively uses the very same legal system to advance the agenda of its multinational corporate membership.”
This litigation is often at the expense of Americans’ own individual health or financial security. A few examples of the Chamber in action include:
- Fighting against workers’ rights by forcing workers to pay for their own safety equipment and defending corporations that discriminate on the basis of disability or race.
- Siding with big tobacco by protecting the tobacco industry from being held accountable for deceptive marketing practices and preventing people injured by tobacco products from recovering punitive damages.
- Shielding corporations who knowingly allowed and concealed toxic exposure to Americans by trying to establish immunity for lead paint manufacturers and corporations using asbestos and other environmental pollutants.
- Attempts to decrease Wall Street regulations by suing the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over accounting reforms and other reforms spurned by the bailout crisis. In addition, the Chamber fought to keep banks from being held accountable for loss of consumers’ personal savings.
Vance believes that the “Chamber has every right to seek what it believes to be justice in a court of law…but it must learn that this right to justice belongs not just to their organization, or big business generally, but to all Americans.”
Source: The Chamber Litigation Machine: How the Chamber Uses Lawsuits to Keep Americans Out of Court
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