A Steady Campaign to Mislead

July 3, 2007

Center for Justice & Democracy

For the last 15 years, insurance companies, manufacturers of dangerous products and chemicals, the tobacco industry and other major industries have been engaged in a nationwide assault on the civil justice system. In nearly every state and in Congress, corporations and their insurers have waged a relentless campaign to change the laws that give sick and injured consumers the ability to hold their offenders responsible for the injuries they cause. And in the year 2000, the corporate assault on the civil justice system has emerged as a presidential campaign issue.

[…]

The business-led effort to take away consumers’ legal rights (called
“tort reform” by its corporate proponents; “tort
deform” by its pro-consumer opponents) has had at its helm
the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) located in Washington,
D.C. In turn, ATRA has contracted with APCO & Associates, one
of the nation’s leading “grassroots” lobbying/PR firms.

[…]

More broadly, the CALA message is
based on the falsehoods that the legal system has spun out of control;
that lawsuits tax the economy and consumers; that lawsuits create
economic hardship for working people; that the tort law system is
designed to line the pockets of trial lawyers; and that tort laws
are anti-consumer. Unfortunately, many jurors around the country
have been influenced by this erroneous message due to the marketing
campaign of ATRA, APCO and the CALAs, and as a result, statistics
reflect juries’ increasingly antagonistic attitude toward injured
plaintiffs.

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