Debunking Corporate Myths
You have heard it all before. Too many frivolous lawsuits. Greedy trial attorneys will sue anyone, any time. Lawyers are driving up the cost of (you fill in the blank.)
Corporate America has spent millions and millions of dollars in coordinated attacks to help ingrain these messages into the psyche of consumers so they will stand up and fight against their own best interests.
It truly shows that sometimes all you have to do is say something enough times and it becomes true, because the facts on these things just don't add up.
Over the years these sham groups have even become predictable with annual releases of new "studies" that serve as ongoing rationale for continuing to call for more restrictions on access to a fair and impartial justice system for all.
While many media outlets have now begun to disregard these baseless attacks as the shameless corporate propaganda they are WAJ would like to point out a couple for you to look for and provide you with some basic facts about our civil justice system.
A couple examples of these "studies" and their approximate annual release dates:
" January - Judicial Hellhole Report (The American Tort Reform Association)
" Late Spring - Lawsuit Climate Report (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)
Some further background
Every year the tort reform advocates, all of which either are big businesses or are funded by them, release "study" after "study" in attempt to paint the civil justice system in a negative light. In order to make their point, the studies often resort to distorting the facts and bending the truth.
Even the methodology is suspect. The respondents of these studies include corporate lawyers, people whose sole purpose is to block the average person's ability to hold corporations accountable for wrongdoing, what they think about the civil justice system. Guess what? They don't want to be held accountable.
Once the reports are released the rhetoric flies. One big business group will quote another big business group's study, and vice versa. Every business group claims "restrictions" and "activist judges" are hampering them. In reality those complaining are often times a victim of their own reckless actions.
Interestingly though, their rhetoric doesn't even match the results of their biased surveys. Despite Wisconsin Manufacturing and Commerce's constant bellyaching about the state's poor legal climate harming businesses a 2006 survey of 600 manufacturing CEO's shows that they rate so-called 'lawsuit-abuse' as the least of the business concerns facing their company.
Additionally, a recent study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce shows Wisconsin's "legal climate" improving dramatically. The study has our state moving from 23rd in the nation to 10th. The Chamber study even ranked Wisconsin 7th in the nation for "judges' impartiality". No word on whether they find that a positive or a negative.