New Legal Package a Boon to Special Interests

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

For Release:
February 1, 2006
For more information: Amber Hard
New Legal Package a Boon to Special Interests
Giveaway to Tobacco Companies, Polluters, Criminals,
Manufacturers of Unsafe Children’s Products, Drunk Drivers, and others
Chicago, IL - Today some members of the Illinois legislature joined forces with big business and special interest groups to announce a package of legal restrictions that help grossly negligent companies and individuals evade responsibility for death and injury.  Among those who would benefit from this bill are the tobacco industry, pharmaceutical companies, the insurance industry, toxic polluters, manufacturers and sellers of products that injure and kill kids, drunk drivers, and even street criminals.
“This package is a staggering assault on the ability of injured citizens to hold reckless companies and individuals responsible for their actions,” said Amber Hard, Staff Director for the Center for Justice and Democracy in Illinois.  “It’s another attempt to tip the scales of justice in favor of the wealthy and powerful and away from ordinary citizens.”
The package of legislation would affect most civil lawsuits such as those involving children killed by unsafe cribs, teenagers killed by drunk drivers, a community poisoned by toxic pollution, consumers ripped off by their financial institution, and even rape victims with devastating injuries inflicted by their attacker. 
The bills include provisions that could force parents of a toddler injured at home in Illinois to sue the product manufacturer out of state or even out of the country.  Another provision would force victims injured by drunk drivers to jump through new legal hoops and dramatically multiply expenses if they seek compensation for their injuries.  Yet another one would let polluters off the hook for poisoning a community’s water supply.
“The legislature should be working together to reduce injuries, pollution, crime, and financial rip-offs,” concluded Hard.  “Instead, the US Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois Civil Justice League, and some members of the Illinois legislature have joined together to let these grossly negligent companies and individuals off the hook when they injure an Illinoisan."

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