By Dennis Shields, LawCash CEO
New laws seek to prevent trial attorneys and lawsuit plaintiffs from securing justice. Recently the “Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017” (H.R. 985) was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, approved, and then passed onto the Senate. The stated purpose of the law is to help plaintiffs in lawsuits against huge businesses—but the fact that the US Chamber of Commerce supports it should tell the public, plaintiffs, and plaintiffs’ attorneys that this is simply not true.
The law is not aimed to promote justice or fairness. Its true goal is to impede justice and to put trial attorneys out of business.
As the recent political climate has changed, chambers of commerce all across the country have become more active and increasingly bold. For example, the US Chamber of Commerce, through its Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), commended the proposed class action law. In an effort to mask its true intentions, the Chamber deliberately and fraudulently misstates its aim: “to assure fair and prompt recoveries for class members and multi-district litigation plaintiffs with legitimate claims.”
In fact, the Chamber notes that it is “the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.”
They’ve always been supported by big banks and money centers, big business, and mammoth insurance companies and industries. The Chamber’s statement about whom it represents clearly demonstrates that its interests do not lie in protecting class action plaintiffs harmed by big businesses.
Rather, the chambers of commerce across the country seek to enable Big Pharma and other industries to market and profit from their products, even if they are known to be dangerous and defective. They seek to shut down the one vehicle set up to protect the public from dangerous products and business decisions; access to the courts. This bill aims to silence the voice of the people, to disarm the trial attorneys, to disincentivize them, and to shutter their offices.
The link between the Chamber of Commerce, multi-district litigation (MDL) class action lawsuits, finance, and big Pharma and industry may not be immediately clear to all who read the bill. Moreover, many trial attorneys do not realize that when they deposit funds and borrow money from their banks, their money may be going to support local and national chambers of commerce.
They are banking with their enemies and helping to put themselves out of business.
The new law, if approved, would make it radically harder in every way to bring suit, to have a class certified, and to recover any money, and it’s difficult now. MDL’s are expensive to bring. Trial law firms must outlay case disbursements on a large scale, often with their own after-tax dollars, take the cases on a contingency basis, wait years for a trial date, deal with pre-emptions and delays, all without knowing if they will ever be paid a penny. This law would not only make it much harder on the public and law firms; it would punish the public and make the populace less safe.
Esquire Bank was created with the help of trial attorneys to address their unique needs and support their causes. It is the only bank fighting bills like HR 985, which impact millions of injured individuals and the law firms who represent them. Esquire Bank understands and values the trial bar and believes that every citizen has a constitutionally protected right to a trial by jury. Through this bill, the Chamber of Commerce is trying to reduce the money trial attorneys earn, take away their clients’ rights, make it harder for law firms to sue in worthwhile cases and to institute attorneys’ fee caps. Anyone paying attention would see from their very press release, their actions over time, and even the language of the law that any lawsuit against business is frivolous to them.
Trial attorneys may not realize that a portion of the deposit they make to their local bank may be going to support the effort to put them out of business. Who you bank with matters in this regard. It matters much more than whether you like your local teller or branch manager or that the bank treats you and your employees well.
Esquire Bank is proud to support the American Association for Justice (“AAJ”), believes in the right to a trial by jury and knows that most lawsuits are not frivolous. If you don’t bank with Esquire Bank and are not a large business, it would be a good idea to find out if your bank supports the local or national chamber of commerce. Too much is at stake to continue with business as usual.