WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) this week unveiled the latest public awareness advertising campaign for its Faces of Lawsuit Abuse program, featuring two stories that show the devastating effects of lawsuit abuse on small businesses and communities.
One features a family-owned pest control business – Peachtree Pest Control – that has been fighting a lawsuit since 1996 despite two jury verdicts in their favor; the other focuses on the decision by a West Virginia school system to remove playground equipment because of lawsuit fears.
“These videos demonstrate that lawsuit abuse has real economic and social effects on real people across the country,” said Lisa Rickard, president of ILR.
ILR’s Faces of Lawsuit Abuse campaign showcases the real stories of lawsuit abuse against small businesses, communities, and individuals.
To date, 21 short videos have been released as part of the effort. They can be viewed online at FacesofLawsuitAbuse.org.
The first new video focuses on the 14-year legal saga of Peachtree Pest Control in Loganville, Ga., which was sued by a worker at an office complex the company had serviced. Court testimony revealed the plaintiff worked nowhere near the treatment area, and a jury ruled in favor of Peachtree. An appeals court remanded the case, forcing a second trial, where a second jury again ruled in favor of the defendant. The plaintiff has threatened to extend the case even further by appealing again.
“Everyone deserves their day in court. But when is enough, enough?” asks owner Steve Arnold. “It tears me up to this day, sitting there thinking that everything I built is on the line.”
The second new video discusses the decision made by the Cabell County school system in West Virginia to remove its swing sets in response to two lawsuits filed over minor accidents at one of its playgrounds. The schools decided they simply could not afford the costs related to any potential future litigation.
“The tragedy is that the kids are losing everything that is fun about being a kid,” says parent Donna Mooney. “You can’t bubble wrap everything from them. They have to be allowed to play and be kids.”
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 the interests of more than three million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.