Since we don't have Richard Nixon to kick around anymore, I'll talk about Ann Coulter instead. She recently called the nonsensical government shutdown “magnificent” and “run beautifully.” With shrewd political insights like that, I’m thinking she might be the exact audience for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s new 164-page report identifying all that’s supposedly wrong with attorneys who represent the nation’s sick, injured, defrauded and otherwise violated people, listing these attorneys by name! (By way of full disclosure, the Center for Justice & Democracy made the list too! Woo hoo!)
Let’s hope Ann weighs in. Although frankly, given the fact that even the massive business lobby group, that National Federation of Independent Businesses, puts the "lawsuit" issue practically dead last on their list of 75 concerns, maybe even Ann Coulter would call the Chamber "nuts" thinking their views are in sycn with rank and file businesses, let alone the American public.
For example, the Chamber doesn't think banks should be sued for mortgage fraud. I'm sure they're just kicking themselves that yesterday's jury verdict against Bank of America came too late for inclusion in their report.
In addition to mortage fraud, however, there are many types of corporate wrongdoing for which the Chamber apparently doesn’t believe its corporate members should be held accountable in court. These include:
Producing unsafe food
Invading people’s privacy
Marketing unsafe drugs
Marketing energy drinks that kill children
Poisoning workers with lethal amounts of asbestos
Defrauding health care consumers
Overcharging drug purchases
Defrauding bank customers
Defrauding energy consumers
Causing nerve damage and paralysis with defective medical devices
Swindling Superstorm Sandy victims
Marketing defective hip implants
Contaminating drinking water with methane gas or gasoline additives
Producing gas cans that explode
Causing the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history
Ripping off taxpayers by the billions of dollars.
Meanwhile, the Chamber seem to think that class actions are a growing problem, especially in the employment area. Are they nuts? No really. Anyone doing those cases knows that the 2011 SCOTUS case, Wal-Mart vs. Dukes, has already allowed companies to defeat or devalue tons of employment discrimination class actions. Wrote Reuters in 2012,
Since the Dukes decision, defendants in a variety of class actions have flooded courts with motions challenging discrimination and violation of labor laws. The defendants have argued that claims made by plaintiffs lacked commonality. Some defendants have also used the ruling as a tool to have class claims dismissed even before the issue of class certification is addressed.
What’s more, employers have not even taken full advantage of forced arbitration and class action bans, which they can now place in every consumer and employment contract thanks to the 2011 SCOTUS case, AT&T v. Concepcion. That case allows corporations to immunize themselves with forced arbitration clauses containing class action waivers. As a result of that case, class actions everywhere are now in free-fall. I guess the Chamber never got the memo on that.
Meanwhile as we’ve pointed out before, while saying that consumer lawyers are insensitive to the importance of keeping companies “litigation-free,” corporate lawyers run to court at the smallest provocation. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce itself sues the U.S. government on average three times a week!
By the way, each chapter of this new Chamber report was written by the very corporate lawyers who lost cases for their negligent or reckless corporate clients. Ya lost, guys! Let it go!!