U.S. Chamber “Faces of Lawsuit Abuse” Campaign Debuts Small Business Stories

Washington (PRESS RELEASE – December 14, 2009) — Two small business owners and the founder of a nonprofit organization – all targets of abusive lawsuits – are speaking out about their legal ordeals at www.FacesOfLawsuitAbuse.org as part of a nationwide public awareness campaign launched today by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) that demonstrates how abusive lawsuits affect real people in very real ways.

“At a time when we are relying on small businesses to create jobs and help our economy recover, many are being burdened by the weight of abusive, costly lawsuits,” said ILR President Lisa Rickard. According to the Small Business Administration, 52 percent of lawsuits target small businesses, the economic engine that creates 64 percent of America’s jobs.

The Web site features a collection of video stories of lawsuit abuse victims, such as a family-owned Michigan foundry sued by a man who had filed 23 previous lawsuits. The plaintiff alleged that the foundry, Acra Cast, was responsible for contamination on his cars and his home. Acra Cast has always been in full compliance with all environmental regulations, and co-owner Richard Singer eventually learned that the plaintiff had never owned, had cleaned, or had disposed of much of the property in question. The lawsuit was eventually dismissed after almost three years in court but at a significant cost, which included almost $20,000 out of Acra Cast’s pocket – a large sum for the small company.

The campaign, supported by a nationwide television, radio and on-line advertising effort as well as movie theater trailers in targeted cities throughout the country, will run through early 2010.

“The lawsuits filed against the small business people featured in this campaign cost time and money that they could have used to grow their companies and create jobs,” said Rickard. “We are bringing these stories to the public to help people understand that our nation’s litigious culture will hamper the small businesses essential to our economic recovery.”

ILR seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative, political, judicial, and educational activities at the national, state, and local levels. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation, representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.

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