Manufacturers Respond — in Droves

By December 16, 2004General

The Question of the Week (below) has sure drummed up a big response, and obviously hit a nerve with manufacturers far & wide. Outpacing the number of comments posted on the blog are the number of e-mails we received from folks requesting anonymity, out of fear of more terror from the trial bar. Among the highlights (or lowlights) are:

— An individual in NY City had walked through a door (without opening it first) and had suffered some level of pain and medical treatment. We were named as a property owner along with others unknown to us. I instructed our attorney to correspond on our behalf and inform the filing attorney for the plaintiff that we were an upstate corporation with a single location, had never owned, leased or maintained a presence in New York City and took exception to being wrongfully named in a legal action. This went on for over a year with numerous letters written and became a small stack of associated paperwork. The matter was ultimately dismissed, although absent proper legal representation, we would have certainly been in trouble by default judgment.

Wrongful suits cause undue time, concern and necessitate legal representation – sort of the full employment action for attorneys. Offending attorneys should be censured or otherwise held accountable for their actions.

— I’ve seen the subject on today’s NAM blog and I did not want to respond publicly on the site.

I am the president of a manufacturing firm that employs over 300 people and we currently have over two dozen product liability suits pending in Madison County, Illinois. For the past (15) years the same plaintiff’s attorney has been suing our company for alleged claims and his persistence, combined with the relatively recent very plaintiff friendly venue, is starting to pay off for him.

I know that the ATRA “hellhole” designations are somewhat “tongue in cheek” and humorous to some. Let me assure you that for a company involved every day with the bias, unfairness, illogic, and injustice that goes on in this in county, there is absolutely nothing funny about the situation.

After (29) years of successfully being in business, we are now struggling for our life due to the unjust accusations and cockeyed legal system. Over 10% of our gross revenues went to defending and/or settling legal claims this year.

I am familiar with NAM and support their work. I pledge my company’s and my personal support to help with this matter in any way. I encourage you to keep fighting the fight to get some sense back into the American legal system before it is too late for all American manufacturers.

— This is an excellent issue. In “Judicial Hellholes” we recognize several jurisdictions from our history of asbestos injury suits. This is a form of “legal extortion” as our products were seldom involved, but we have to pay to get off the cases.