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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, attack dog for big business, has launched a multi-million dollar ad campaign that purports to identify states that supposedly favor accident victims over corporations. The Chamber’s campaign has been purveyed in full page ads in national circulation newspapers, on the internet, and in local papers in key states. The Chamber’s efforts, and the response of the American Trial Lawyers Association, are described in a story published on April 24, 2006 in the The National Law Journal.

The story reveals that the Chamber has targeted Wisconsin as a key battleground, upset over three recent decisions of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, one involving a victim of medical malpractice who successfullly challenged a statutory cap on pain and suffering, a second involving a drunk driver penalized with a punitive damages award because he had previously been convicted five times of drunk driving, and the third case allowing a suit against the lead paint industry for damages caused to children injured by their products. Makes you wonder whether the Chamber’s dues- paying members have families whose rights will also be swept away if sound decisions like these are erased by laws to immunize corporations from the consequences of their negligence.

Big business has virtually unlimited resources to campaign against victims’ rights. Victims, in camparison, lack resources, have no organization, and have immense personal problems to deal with. The American Trial Lawyers Association and its state counterparts, like the Wisconsin Academy of Trial Lawyers, serve as the voice for these victims, and will be doing what they can to speak for the powerless and oppose efforts like those of the Chamber to limit their access to the court system. They need the public’s vocal support.

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