Even though the U.S. was in the middle of a major recession, the federal government poured $182 million into the struggling insurance giant American International Group (AIG). Immediately thereafter, AIG hosted an all expenses paid corporate retreat at the luxurious St. Regis Resort outside of Los Angeles. The cost of this retreat was $440,000.00, for golf outings, banquets and spa treatments; the spa treatments alone cost over $23,000. To add insult to injury, the company also paid out huge executive bonuses to officers who led the corporation to the brink of extinction.
Fast forward 4 years; Hank Greenberg has the audacity to sue the U.S. government over the terms of the bailout and AIG considers joining the lawsuit. Why? Even though the deal saved AIG from bankruptcy, Greenberg says its shareholders were “cheated” (charged interest rates were too high) by the U.S. and shareholder rights were violated under the Fifth Amendment, which protects private property from "public use, without just compensation." Cheated? Who is kidding whom? Without the bailout, the shareholders would have been left with nothing and AIG would not exist! This is how AIG and its management thank U.S. taxpayers? With AIG, it is “Thank you America” when it gets what it needs; its “screw you America” when it gets back on its feet thanks to a taxpayer funded bailout. These are the same taxpayers who get seriously injured and get the same “screw you” from insurance companies like AIG.
The U.S. Chamber and the insurance industry cries “lawsuit abuse” when innocent victims file personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against various wrongdoers. Industry and the Chamber think nothing of stripping away the rights of innocent victims under the Seventh Amendment while claiming that “greedy trial lawyers” file “frivolous” lawsuits. The Chamber has even created phony “Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse” front groups and hosts an annual “Most Ridiculous Lawsuit” campaign. As frivolous as this Greenberg lawsuit is, I would wager that it will never appear on the Chamber’s “most ridiculous” list. What is most “ridiculous” is the hypocrisy of the Chamber and AIG. “Company profits over individual rights” should be the slogan, because that certainly is the goal.
The Chamber represents corporations and insurance companies that seek to escape liability for the harm they cause consumers, whether from defective products, medical malpractice, securities scams, or insurance fraud. Just like AIG hid behind its “Thank you, America” campaign, the Chamber hides its extreme, pro-business, agenda behind a bogus “Citizens Against” acronym. Shame on all of them and shame on all of us for letting them get away with it. The commercial claims: “We helped America rebuild, now let’s bring on tomorrow.” If their “tomorrow” is a continuation of insurance company greed and a policy of corporate profits over the rights of injured and/or disabled policy holders, it is time for America to say “No, thank you.”
Mark Bello has thirty-six years experience as a trial lawyer and fourteen years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide legal finance cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by a plaintiff involved in pending, personal injury, litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Member of Public Justice and Public Citizen, Business Associate of the Florida, Mississippi, Connecticut, Texas, and Tennessee Associations for Justice, and Consumers Attorneys of California, 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.