The United States Chamber of Commerce and its subsidiary Chambers in cities and towns around the country were designed to be trade organizations, calculated to promote networking and to assist businesses in constructive ways. The Chamber has morphed into a giant lobbying mouthpiece for the largest corporations in the country, manipulating think tank reports, most of which are unreliable and full of false information. The Chamber is spending the vast resources of its members to foment (promote) the economic-political agenda of one party. In doing so, the Chamber is seeking to deny to the individual citizens of this country their constitutional rights to redress their grievances in court and to deprive citizens of their right to a jury trial. It does not matter whether a legal claim involves one person or thousands often seen in a consumer class action context, the Chamber is on the side of denying a remedy to those harmed.
Ironically, the Chamber’s campaign deals with so-called lawsuit abuse, and its ads have used the slogan: “DON’T FEED THE TRIAL LAWYERS.” It neglects to advise the reader that businesses and corporations rank as the largest consumers of the services of trial lawyers in this country. Businesses sue businesses all of the time for the silliest reasons. It neglects to tell the reader that most states already have fixed their tort laws by providing penalties against lawyers and litigants for the so-called frivolous lawsuit. And it neglects to tell the reader that the Tillinghast Towers Perrin report on which its fallacious campaign some years ago was discredited as lacking in scholarly methodology and skewed by data that had nothing to do with the tort system. Indeed the report’s own authors admitted that “the costs tabulated in [the] study were not a reflection of litigated claims or of the legal system.”
Ironically, the Chamber relied upon a report that said it was focusing upon the tort system when it is really focused upon the insurance system. Why else include the cost of the insurance company CEO’s excessive compensation as a cost of the tort system? So if the Chamber wants to do a public service to its members, it should be attacking the excesses of insurance companies and HMOs.
More recently, the Chamber of Commerce has attacked the use of consumer class actions. Its plan is to deprive remedies for consumers who sustain relatively modest damages through deception and fraud by Chamber of Commerce members. Only the wrongdoer is enriched by its ill-gotten gains.
Should the Chamber prevail in its wish to do away with the tort system, it will leave us with a court system equipped to deal only with the judicial requirements of big business. It will not succeed in doing away with the costs that the tort system addresses, such as the medical expenses and lost earnings of the victim. It will not provide suitable alternatives for maintaining people who may end up on public assistance or who will no longer be meaningful contributors to our economy. And it will not deter unlawful abuse of consumers.
So in this great country of ours, as long as the U.S. Chamber and its subsidiaries want the Constitution for themselves, we say it is time to boycott these organizations and their members.