Coming to a movie theater near you: instead of your run-of-the-mill previews usually shown before a feature presentation, audiences may see political advertisements meant to “educate” the movie-going public on the dangers of frivolous lawsuits. The series of two-minute commercials will feature “everyday Americans”, particularly business owners that have been negatively affected by civil lawsuits that they claim were “arbitrary” and “abusive”. Such “everyday Americans” include a gasket maker in Louisiana, who is dealing with 100 asbestos lawsuits—Cancer is hardly an illness to scoff at. But, these trailers represent the latest installment in a long-standing political battle between trial lawyers and conservative advocacy groups over whether there should be limitations on bringing civil lawsuits.
The Institute for Legal Reform, a branch of the Chamber of Commerce, is responsible for these new ads. The Chamber of Commerce represents 3 million businesses, and hopes that this new advertising method will help boost the public’s interest in restricting litigation. The ads will reportedly cost between $1 million to as much as $4 million and will be shown in 1,325 theaters nationwide.
The Institute claims it isn’t supporting any particular legislation, but the executive director for the Center for Justice and Democracy feels otherwise. Particularly, she argues that the Institute wants to make sure consumers don’t have the right to sue when there are disputes in consumer contracts. It boils down to this: with no one to protect consumers from the potential negligence of businesses, big and small alike, who will look out for the little guy? The Chamber of Commerce doesn’t seem to care—in fact, the former president of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, recently stated that the chamber was purposefully omitting key facts in the cases they used in their advertisements, which made these cases non-frivolous.
This is another attempt of corporate America trying to brain-wash people with propoganda and half-truths.
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.