WASHINGTON, Nov. 13, 2012 — The American Association for Justice (AAJ) launched an online, grassroots campaign called “Take Justice Back” today. The campaign hit the ground running with an interactive website that educates Americans about the importance of the civil justice system, motivates the public through real stories of people denied justice, engages consumers through social media, and empowers activism.
For decades, corporate interests have attempted to limit accountability by chipping away at laws allowing consumers to access the civil justice system. “Take Justice Back” will use straightforward facts to directly take on the myths and propaganda pushed by corporate front groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The campaign will encourage Americans to join the fight to take back their rights.
“Powerful corporations have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to avoid accountability through the civil justice system,” said AAJ President Mary Alice McLarty. “They look out for themselves – not for consumers. ‘Take Justice Back’ will expose the tactics they use and empower Americans to affect change.”
A prime example of corporations trying to avoid accountability can be found in the fine print of most consumer and employment contracts. It is called a forced arbitration clause. When these clauses are included in the fine print, access to justice through the courts is severely – if not completely – limited. In the event of a dispute, forced arbitration funnels consumer and employee claims into a secretive system chosen by the corporation, no matter how bad the corporation’s conduct or how many consumers they ripped off.
The millions of Americans relying on PayPal this holiday season to purchase gifts should read the fine print. On November 1st PayPal added a forced arbitration clause in its contracts. Buried in the user agreement are the words “ARBITRATION OF YOUR CLAIM IS MANDATORY AND BINDING. NEITHER PARTY WILL HAVE THE RIGHT TO LITIGATE THAT CLAIM THROUGH A COURT.” In other words, in order to use PayPal, consumers must give up their rights to the court.
“Forced arbitration is just one of the many insidious ways corporations have schemed up to bypass the civil justice system,” said McLarty. “When no one is accountable, no one is safe. It is time for consumers to join together to protect their rights.”
“Take Justice Back” is a powerful resource for both consumers and reporters. The campaign will highlight emerging issues, release detailed reports and facts, and employ social engagement. Through the site, many Americans will be able to discover what they probably do not know: real people are losing their rights to justice and it could happen to them.
Additional Tactics Take Justice Back will Expose:
- The loopholes that prevent most Americans from holding generic drug manufacturers accountable if they are harmed by a generic drug, even though such generics make up 80% of all the drugs sold today.
- The injustice that prevents members of our Armed Services from holding the military accountable when they are injured through negligence.
- The laws that keep foreign manufacturers “off the hook” for dangerous products.
- The laws that ensure hospitals are in the clear even for irresponsible practices
- And the methods nursing homes use to side-step responsibility when those in their care are injured or worse.
As the world’s largest trial bar, the American Association for Justice (formerly known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America) works to make sure people have a fair chance to receive justice through the legal system when they are injured by the negligence or misconduct of others–even when it means taking on the most powerful corporations. Visit //www.justice.org.