April 29, 2008 (Washington, DC) — U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s
so-called think tank, Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), today released
its phony report that claims to rank the best and worst state legal systems
in America. American Association for Justice (AAJ) obtained a copy in
advance of U.S. Chamber’s formal release tomorrow.
“This latest propaganda is further proof that U.S. Chamber serves
at the behest of elite corporate insiders,” said Jon Haber, CEO
of American Association for Justice (AAJ). “U.S. Chamber’s
goal is to make sure people can’t get justice in the courtroom,
especially against the corporations that finance this front group.”
ILR’s 30-person board is composed of drug, chemical, and insurance
corporations with combined 2007 revenues of $1.4 trillion.
Here is what’s wrong with this report:
Only corporate defense lawyers from companies earning $100 million or more
were surveyed. No local experts, attorneys, judges, or media were surveyed.
The methodology has been debunked. U.S. Chamber’s own pollster admitted
to Copley News Service in 2004 that there is no way to measure the fairness
of a state’s legal system.
In 2006, U.S. Chamber’s CEO and the same pollster confessed to the
Charleston Gazette that only a fraction of corporate defense lawyers knew
anything about West Virginia’s courts, even though they ranked poorly at 49th.
There is no margin of error or evidence the “rankings” is statistically
valid. U.S. Chamber lists multiple tables pretending to detail the methodology
without actually revealing the response rate or accuracy of its poll.
Ironically, ILR released these “rankings” in Louisiana as the
state continues to recover from Hurricane Katrina. An Allstate vice-president
and State Farm’s CEO sit on ILR’s board, two companies that
have notoriously stiffed Gulf Coast policyholders.
“As the Gulf Coast’s residents and business community rebound
from Katrina, U.S. Chamber is trying to undermine their progress to do
the bidding for greedy insurance CEOs,” said Haber. “U.S.
Chamber should stop spending millions on junk studies and tell their insurance
company board members to pay out just claims instead.”
“U.S. Chamber seems to believe that giant corporations should get
a free pass for their negligence or misconduct,” said Haber. “All
Americans should have a fair chance to receive justice through the legal
system even when it means taking on the most powerful corporations.”