If you are someone who reads my InjuryBoard posts from time to time, you know that I frequently write about the fact that the need for "tort reform" is a myth, perpetrated by big insurance, big pharma, big tobacco and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. These lobbying groups argue that those of us who represent injured people against Goliath corporate interests are guilty of "Lawsuit Abuse".
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has, for years, perpetrated a smear campaign against trial lawyers. This phony campaign seeks to bail out corporate wrongdoers who negligently kill and injure citizens. It seeks to prevent a citizen from suing the corporate wrongdoer or to limit the size of that citizen's award. It does this by linking what it calls "frivolous" lawsuits with the awards rendered in serious lawsuits for serious corporate behavior resulting in serious harm to individual citizens. We all have common sense. Use it and ask yourself this question: What "frivolous lawsuit" would need a high end cap on damages? Wouldn't the case, if frivolous, be dismissed by a sensible judge?
In its "Faces of Lawsuit Abuse" campaign, the Chamber falsely claims that "frivolous" lawsuits hurt this small businessman or that one. Maybe, just maybe, one "story" out of a hundred is true. But these situations are extremely uncommon and the Chamber and its ilk do not really care about them. They want to limit the seriously injured from getting serious money from offending billion dollar corporations which pour millions into these lobbying campaigns. A more humane use of these obscene expenditures would be to pay them to their victims instead of embarking on trial lawyer slander campaigns and courtroom delay, deny tactics.
So, since I believe in keeping my enemies close, I subscribe to receive "Lawsuit Abuse" Google Alerts. But, most of the time, what I see must surprise even the wealthiest insurance, pharmaceutical, or tobacco executive. It is embarrassing to the likes of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church or Jerry Sandusky. You see, if you combine the words "Lawsuit" and "Abuse" in the same Google search, more often than not, you will get information about lawsuits filed against someone who, in some position of power, has abused a child. In the case of Penn State and, certainly, the Catholic Church, we find that the cover-up is often as bad as the crime, itself. It is ironic that the choice of "Lawsuit Abuse" as a campaign slogan, meant to benefit corporate wrongdoers and restrict the civil justice rights of citizens, has backfired and, instead, called attention to the serious crime of sexual abuse against children. And isn't it interesting that one of the best weapons against the corporate cover-up of the sex abuse crimes is the threat of a lawsuit?
These lawsuits have been an important tool in changing the way the Catholic Church handles pedophile priests. It has taken thousands of lawsuits and cost the Church hundreds of millions of dollars, but the message has been delivered, loud and clear. A lawsuit by a "David" citizen against a "Goliath" corporation is the great equalizer; we are all equal in the eyes of the law. These corporate lobbying efforts are designed to defeat that legal equality. They are efforts to pour billions into the legislative and executive branches in campaign contributions so that corporate interests can hijack the judicial branch. Imagine limiting the recovery to a brain damaged victim of a bad drug to, let's say, $250,000. How does the victim's family care for him? Who pays to medical expenses or 24 hour care bills? Well…you do. If full compensation isn't paid, taxpayer funded government assistance pays the difference. And you thought we were finished with corporate bail-outs!
Here's an assignment for you, keeping in mind that the Chamber and its lobbying efforts are pouring billions into this phony "lawsuit abuse" message:
Subscribe to and receive "Lawsuit Abuse" Google Alerts every day for a month. Keep track of how many alerts relate to some type of child abuse, sexual abuse, or other abuse case where a real person filed a real lawsuit against a vicious predator. Count the number of "Lawsuit Abuse" propaganda pieces put out there by the Chamber and review the content in comparison to the serious issues of child abuse and lawsuits that hold perpetrators and co-conspirators responsible. I'd like to know whether you come away thinking that citizens and their lawyers are guilty of "lawsuit abuse" or whether, instead, these lobbying groups are the ones guilty of "lawsuit abuse" in trying to bail out corporate wrongdoers at the expense of the taxpayers and seriously injured and/or disabled citizens. Take the "lawsuit abuse challenge" and let me know what you come up with.
Mark Bello is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation, which provides necessities of life funding to litigation plaintiffs. He has thirty-five years of experience as a trial lawyer and thirteen years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Business Associate of the Florida, Mississippi, Connecticut, Texas, Tennessee Associations for Justice, and Consumers Attorneys of California. He is also member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series. Mark Bello is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.