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| Wrona DuBois, P.L.L.C.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, through its Institute for Legal Reform, has taken its well-funded campaign to curb the rights of the injured to a new level and venue. Yesterday, The National Law Journal reported that the Institute is running trailers in movie theaters that highlight what it claims are "abusive" law suits. The spurious trailers began running April 28th in four theaters in Denver and Baton Rouge and four theaters in Washington D.C.

The Chamber launched its multi-media assualt on individual rights in the name of tort reform a little more than a year ago, but apparently those behind the campaign now think they should subject captive audiences to the deceptive messaging. The trailers highlight cases like one in which a "minor" ski accident almost ruined the family of the child who caused the accident, and another in which a small gasket company is facing lawsuits because it used products containing asbestos encapsulates; but they only tell one side of the story and they use histrionics to tell it.

There are a number of good sources of information which debunk the myths of tort reform perpetuated by the U.S. Chamber of Commerge who put the interests of corporations before those of the people injured by their corporate negligence and greed. One such source is a blog post by Injury Board member attorney Wayne Parsons which pulls together a great deal of authoritative information on the topic. Others include Blocking the Courthouse Door: How the Republican Party and Its Corporate Allies Are Taking Away Your Right to Sue , The Myth of the Litigation Crisis; Corporate Wolves in Victims’ Clothing, and PRI’s Corporate-Funded Tort Reform Study Proves Tort Reform Doesn’t Work ,which reports the following study results:

Pacific Research Institute’s (PRI) new study proves what independent experts have said all along: "tort reform" does not work. PRI’s own rankings show there is no correlation between tort reform and "costs"

  • Colorado
    • PRI ranks CO 1st in tort reform laws; however,
    • PRI also ranks CO as having the eighth highest costs.
  • New Mexico
    • PRI ranks NM 44th in tort reform laws; however,
    • PRI also ranks NM as having the sixth lowest costs.
  • PRI also ranks NM as having the sixth lowest costs.
    • States most “hurt” by costs are actually the wealthiest.
    • PRI’s 25 “worst” states: $36,617 (average GSP).
    • PRI’s 25 “best” states: $35,934 (average GSP).
    • [source: Gross State Product (GSP), Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2006]

    The following is a statement from American Association for Justice CEO Jon Haber:

    "ExxonMobil, Phillip Morris, and Big Pharma are all corporate wrongdoers who have spent millions to destroy the civil justice system using groups such as Pacific Research Institute. But PRI’s new study actually agrees with independent experts that tort reform does not work.

    "PRI’s study is entirely bogus and has no methodology or academic basis for its results. PRI cites themselves or the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) no less than 34 times in the footnotes. Not surprisingly, PRI and ATRA are both funded by oil, tobacco, and pharmaceutical companies.

    "Even biased, junk research shows tort reform is simply a scheme by powerful corporations to avoid accountability in the courtroom and stack the deck against every day Americans."

Given the amount of mis-information circulated by corporate America on the tort reform issue, it is incumbent on those that defend the rights of the injured to be well informed on the facts.

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