Tom Donahue, the President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, has said that litigation is “one of our most powerful tools for making sure that federal agencies follow the law and are held accountable.” For years however, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been using litigation as a tool to block Americans from receiving justice while using the courts for their own corporate advantage. A recent news report by the American Association for Justice (AAJ) exposes the Chamber as one of the most aggressive litigators in Washington D.C. In 2009 the Chamber appeared in 131 cases, “a new record for litigation activity.” The Chamber also spent hundreds of millions of dollars closing courthouse doors to Americans by lobbying anti-consumer candidates and preventing justice from being received.
Litigation for the Chamber
The Chamber actively tries to prevent Americans from receiving justice if injured by fraudulent services, defective products and dangers at work. The Chamber pushes its agenda using two affiliated organizations that focus on litigation: the Institute for Legal Reform and the National Chamber of Litigation Center (NCLC). ILR focuses on restrictions in lawsuits brought against corporations while NCLC advocates for limited regulations to these corporations.
The American Association for Justice’s President Gibson Vance says the Chamber “readily spends millions of dollars to prevent Americans from holding wrongdoers accountable in the courtroom, and then aggressively uses the very same legal system to advance the agenda of its multinational corporate membership.”
The Chambers Actions Come at the Expense of Americans
Litigation for the Chamber has come at the expense of American workers:
- Justified Wall Street’s action which have contributed to the economic turmoil of today and fought legislation that would protect future economic collapse
- Defended CEOs and their extravagant expenses
- Litigated to force workers to pay for their own safety equipment
- Filed actions against measures that would combat climate changes by prohibiting the Environment Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases and preventing states from regulating auto emissions
- Fought on behalf of lead paint manufacturers
- Defended corporations that discriminated
- Opposed measures that allow workers a rest period
- Defended big tobacco and prevented the tobacco industry from being held accountable for decades
- Defended asbestos companies and chemical companies
Chamber President Tom Donahue Loves Litigation
The Chamber has no problem using litigation to prevent regulations from taking effect. Donahue has boasted that he has no problem bullying politicians. “We’ll try to influence [them], we’ll try to persuade them, we’ll lobby them, and if they don’t listen, then we are going to sue them.”
The Chamber’s actions have essentially undermined and destroyed America’s civil justice system. AAJ President Vance says that “[t]he Chamber has every right to seek what it believes to be justice in a court of law, even if representing the most deplorable corporate interests. But it must learn that this right to justice belongs not just to their organization, or big business generally, but to all Americans.”
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