Thursday, April 24, 2008

AAJ: U.S. Chamber's Phony 'Rankings' Serve Extreme Corporate Agenda

Hey, don't even contemplate playing with the big dogs. Ya ain't got a chance in hell.
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 [today].

"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."

Via News Unfiltered.

* Full release.

Note: Edited for readability.

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