On October 24, 2012, the United States Chamber of Commerce held its thirteenth annual legal reform summit in Washington D.C. The purpose of this annual summit is to limit plaintiffs access to American courtrooms by proposing pro-business, anti-consumer legal reform. This year’s summit was no different. The American Association for Justice (“AAJ”) came out with a slideshow detailing the top 10 ways that the U.S. Chamber hurts Americans. Number three on the list details how the U.S. Chamber has tried to keep injured plaintiffs out of courtrooms by continually denying workers rights and defending companies who have poisoned everyday consumers with lead paint, asbestos and environmental contamination, to name a few.
The U.S. Chamber’s History with Worker’s Rights.
According to the AAJ report, the U.S. Chamber has repeatedly denied basic worker’s rights; from forcing employees to pay for their own basic safety equipment to condoning racial and disability based discrimination.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, is the organization responsible for ensuring employee safety in the workplace. When OSHA mandated that employers implement safety measures to protect workers, employers forced their employees to pay for their safety equipment. The U.S. Chamber supported these employers and fought to ensure that employees must continue to pay for their own basic safety equipment.
The U.S. Chamber also has a history of supporting employers discrimination based on disability and race. The AAJ report stated that the U.S. Chamber attempted to narrow the definition of disability to facilitate employer discrimination against employees with mental and physical limitations. Fortunately, this measure failed, and human rights afforded to every worker remain intact.
Employers must be held accountable for their discriminatory and unfair business practices, which is why our attorneys continually come to the aid of wronged workers and their families to ensure that they rightfully reach the courtroom.
The U.S. Chamber and Toxic Substances
Not only has the U.S. Chamber worked to substantially reduce and eliminate worker’s rights, but they also continually deny courtroom access to everyday Americans poisoned by lead paint, asbestos and environmental contamination to name a few.
Lead paint has caused serious neurological and developmental disabilities in children who have unknowingly ingested this dangerous chemical. Despite a ban on the sale of lead paint in 1978, it has not been completely removed from buildings in the United States, affecting primarily lower income and minority children who disproportionately live in older, improperly maintained housing that contain the dangerous paint. The U.S. Chamber continuously works against attorneys who bring lawsuits to protect the health and safety of these children and their families. The U.S. Chamber has filed countless briefs in both state and federal courts to provide immunity to manufacturers of this poisonous product, denying relief to many affected children and their families.
The U.S. Chamber has also worked to prevent asbestos litigation, intervening on behalf of companies that knowingly denied the dangers of asbestos exposure. The result has been that plaintiff’s suffering from mesothelioma are denied relief and guilty companies are not held accountable.
Finally, the AAJ report states that the U.S. Chamber has repeatedly intervened on behalf of several companies responsible for dumping hazardous waste and chemicals into our environment. This is not an organization that is seeking legal reform; instead their only purpose seems to be to prevent injured and wronged plaintiffs from ever reaching the courtroom.
The attorneys at our firm provide representation to those wronged by these companies and other companies like them. In fact, Levin & Perconti have handled thousands of personal injury and wrongful death cases, and have recovered more than $400 million dollars for wronged plaintiffs and their families.