Consumer Group Condemns Corporate Front Groups’ Deceptive Ad Campaign

Friday, October 6, 2006

For Immediate Release:
October 6, 2006
Contact: Mark Fraley
            312/515-7165       or

Joanne Doroshow
Consumer Group Condemns Corporate Front Groups’ Deceptive Ad Campaign
Says groups have no basis for attacking judges and juries
Chicago, IL - The Center for Justice & Democracy today condemned a new ad campaign launched by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Illinois Campaign for Legal Reform (ILR) and the Illinois Civil Justice League (ICJL).  The groups’ ad campaign, called “Faces of Lawsuit Abuse” consists of TV ads that falsely claim that “frivolous lawsuits” are forcing businesses out of Illinois. The ads are being aired in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
“The corporate front groups seem utterly unconcerned with being honest about the actual business climate of Illinois, which is, in fact, strong and growing,” said Mark Fraley, Acting Director of Center for Justice and Democracy-Illinois.
Objective indicators show that Illinois businesses are doing very well.  In August, the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Economic Security reported that Illinois led the nation in the previous month’s job growth. That is the second time in 2006 that Illinois has topped the nation in job growth. That is the first time that has happened in recorded history. Site Selection Magazine ranks Illinois 13th and Chicago as the top place to locate a business, while Forbes magazine ranks three Illinois cities in their top 150.
The ILR and ICJL, in their TV ads, recommend that Illinois adopt further so-called “tort reform” laws that would overhaul Illinois’ civil justice system.
“These ads are geared towards persuading Illinois lawmakers to adopt unfair laws that would block injured consumers’ access to the courts and remove accountability for negligent corporations,” said Fraley. “Such laws would give oil, tobacco, and insurance companies undue control over Illinois courts.”
The ads neglect to mention the “faces” of Illinoians injured by the negligence of others who would suffer if their legal rights were stripped away. “I am disappointed to see our court system under attack like this,” said Bob Johnson of Carmi,, Illinois, whose son, Bob Jr., was killed in a power plant explosion. “Corporations that commit wrongdoing must be held accountable through our courts.  The laws being pushed by ILR and ICJL would just make it easier for bad corporations that cause injury and death to do business here.”
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