With the American Presidential Election in full swing you might have recently seen some the Super Pac attack ads that spill over into our shared American programming on local cable. The U. S. Chamber of Commerce is a big player in the Super Pac ad game and a front for big business and their corporate interests. Last night I watched a Super Pac ad advocating against “lawsuit abuse” and suggesting that the alleged lawsuit abuse was responsible for the recent plant closures in the U.S. and loss of American jobs. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has ranked state’s tort laws based on supposed lawsuit abuse as a determinant to be considered by companies in deciding where to locate business. The views expressed by the Chamber are those of corporate lawyers for a number of $100 million companies. The Chamber ranks these states to pit them against each other – a tactic to pressure law makers to enact laws that would strip corporations of legal accountability for their acts which hurt or kill people.
Ironically they ignore more obvious and less public surveys such as that of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) representing small business. This group looked at 75 issues that were important to small business. On this list of issues “Cost an Frequency of Lawsuits/Threatened Lawsuits” was #65 of 75 issues reported. It was the 65th most important issue to businesses in deciding where to locate.
In mounting their campaign the Chamber has ignored judges and scholars who might know something about various state’s tort laws. Professor Theodore Eisenberg, a Professor of Law and Adjunct Professor of Statistical Sciences at Cornell has said that the Chambers surveys have created false impressions about states and the United States which might discourage foreign investment, and worse yet might unnecessarily endanger the public safety by decreasing tort law’s deterrent effect.
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