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On Monday, a group calling itself “Sick of Lawsuits” announced an ad campaign – “Warning: What Lawsuit Ads Don’t Say Can Hurt You.” Their website argues that “personal injury lawyer advertising can mislead and scare consumers.” Whether that statement is true or not is a matter of debate and perspective.  The website also states:  “It’s dangerous when people start to believe that everything they see… is true.”  That statement is absolutely true, especially if what people are seeing is coming from these type of anti-consumer, anti-lawsuit groups.

“Sick of Lawsuits” is an arm of “Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse”, which, in turn, is an arm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its Institute for Legal Reform.  There are no “citizens” involved unless you follow the Mitt Romney line of reasoning that “corporations are people too”.  These campaigns are the brainchild of the Chamber, the lobbying group that represents the interests of the largest corporations and insurance companies in the country.  These are the corporations that have to pay the judgments and settlements when a seriously injured person files a lawsuit.  Never mind that a product causes serious harm.  Never mind that a drug causes death or serious illness.  Never mind that a commercial vehicle driven by a drunk or a person who is unfit to drive kills or maims someone.  Never mind.  These corporations don’t want to make our citizens safer.  They don’t care about safe products or safe roads.  They don’t care about accountability.  All they care about is corporate profit.  If they can dupe or lobby lawmakers into passing legislation that increases profits by limiting accountability for damages, they will do so.  Who cares about a brain damaged victim, the family of a deceased breadwinner or a paraplegic who must receive 24/7 care for the rest of his/her life?  As long as the profit machine runs 24/7, 365 days a year, the public and the victims be damned.

They hide behind these bogus “sick of” or “citizens against” acronyms. Not only is their propaganda misleading, the essence of their plea is wrong. Their sole purpose is for corporations and insurance companies to escape or severely limit liability for the harm they cause consumers. Unfortunately, these cleverly disguised, anti-citizen reports are all over the Internet.  They are myths long perpetrated by business interests, The Chamber, the insurance industry, the tobacco industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and other multi-billion dollar industries seeking to limit the amount of money they have to pay to the citizens that they seriously harm or kill.

These groups are a well-financed, well-marketed, and well-publicized corporate conspiracy to shut the courthouse doors to average Americans and limit the power of their attorneys  to hold these corporate interests accountable. Until this week, the “Donate now” tab on the “Sick of Lawsuits” website led viewers to a page tied to the American Tort Reform Association (Another US Chamber shill).  As of Tuesday afternoon, the link between the sites seems to have been disabled.   Groups like these curtail citizens’ rights to hold corporate wrongdoers accountable, despite the fact that the 7th Amendment of the Constitution guarantees those rights to our citizens. Sick of Lawsuits is not made up of 200,000 interested “citizens”; they do not represent the people. When you are seriously injured or disabled, trial lawyers and only trial lawyers will stand up for your rights and pursue justice to uphold those rights.

The truth is that Sick of Lawsuits is spearheaded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to demonize trial lawyers and limit our access, as citizens to our civil justice/tort system. It is a dangerous and well-orchestrated scheme to trick the American people.  Aren’t we smarter than that?   Let’s ban together as “citizens” and stop them from spreading more false and slanted propaganda about our civil justice system.  If you are seeking the truth about these issue, look no further than to those who actually do exist to protect your constitutional right to civil justice.  Your contribution dollars are far better spent on Public Citizen or The Center for Justice and Democracy, two organizations that represent the interests of individuals, not anti-safety corporate interests.  Lawyers are an easy target, especially personal injury lawyers.  Everyone knows a lawyer joke, don’t they?  But, in an instant, a serious accident can change your life and/or the life of a loved one.  Most of us feel that these are things that happen to others, until, of course, they happen to us.  When they do, that personal injury lawyer that “Sick of” assails in its deceitful campaign is no longer a joke.  That personal injury lawyer will become a very important person in your life, as he or she is in the lives of the countless victims of these types of tragedies.  If you want to donate to a “lawsuits” cause, donate to one that supports the rights of citizens to hold negligent and dangerous corporations accountable for the damage that they do.  Support access to justice by donating to Public Citizens or The Center for Justice and Democracy and show your gratitude for the fine work that they do to protect the rights of all citizens.

Mark Bello is the CEO and General Counsel of Lawsuit Financial Corporation, a pro-justice lawsuit funding company.

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