U.S. Chamber of Commerce
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Over the years, Brent Coon and Associates has been at the forefront of the efforts to uncover and expose the Chamber of Commerce’s hidden agenda of widespread national tort reform that closes the courthouse doors and strips citizens of their legal rights in order to provide Big Business with immunity from litigation.
From a phony newspaper whose mission it is to disparage the legal system, to fake Wikipedia pages maligning the attorneys themselves – meet the Chamber’s Institute of Legal Reform. It’s 50 million dollar a year budget has but one goal…take away the public’s right to sue.
More About Chamber Propaganda Machine
Whether it is revealing documents, news stories that finally tell the truth and shed some light on their cleverly crafted deception, if it exists, we want to post it here
“The main job of the Institute of Legal Reform is to battle the country’s trial lawyers, and they spend 50 million dollars a year doing just that. Atop of their agenda is pushing large-scale tort reform across the nation, to help insulate and protect its members from paying out damages in civil claims.”
Have you heard of Fake News? What About Fake Newspapers?
Brian Tampone and his gang of ass-clowns created covert propaganda rags in small markets across the US that were not over-friendly to big business – in order to taint the jury pool and corrupt the justice system. He needs to go to jail.
Brent Coon got the Southeast Texas Record thrown out of the Beaumont Newspaper that was carrying it and scored the first of a game-changing series of victories for the good guys.
With the Madison County Record, the West Virginia Record and others still polluting the minds of innocent taxpayers, there is more work to be done.
Wikipedia Imposters – Taking Slander To a Whole New Level
A courageous, powerful and attorney, the kind that has become famous for helping the “little people” fight the big business fat cats and corporate corruption, hears from a friend one day. The lawyers friend asks him why he published his own Wikipedia page and filled it with only negative publicity (most of it made up by the Institute of Legal Reform) and not, instead, about all the good things he has done, his victories in stop corporations from killing, maiming and injuring thousands of people with the dangerous products, defective devices and bad drugs.
The attorney was surprised. He didn’t set up a Wikipedia page for himself. When he looked, he found a fake page set up on his behalf by an imposter (who’s calling card is a Scary Clown photo – oddly appropriate for the ass clowns they are).
This is common as the slander army marches into the 21st century in their no-holds barred fight to poison minds and destroy justice.
Keeping Your Courthouse Doors Open
About the Fight Against the Chamber of Commerce
The following is Brent Coon’s Letter the Beaumont Enterprise:
Dear Beaumont Enterprise,
The Beaumont Enterprise, as one of the primary print media voices for the Southeast Texas market, has a long history of integrity and independence which is regrettably eroding with the continued inclusion of the Southeast Texas Record for regular Thursday distribution.
While I am probably passing along something that is already known to your newspaper, The Record is a propaganda rag of the US Chamber of Commerce, and it’s only real purpose is to distort and malign the tort litigation process and plaintiff law firms. In other words, IT IS A FAKE. IT IS A FRAUD. IT IS A SHAM.
My law firm has been at the forefront of exposing these fake papers, including this one, as well as other propaganda emanating from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on legal issues. This paper originated in Illinois as the The Madison-St. Clair Record (where a number of asbestos cases were filed) , and has propagated like fleas into a number of other markets, again many in areas with significant asbestos litigation. The Southeast Texas Record does not indicate its ownership on the paper. This is because they want the consuming public to be duped into believing it is a real newspaper. They even utilize “cut and paste” advertising from charities and others and often include them without knowledge or permission to make their paper look more “authentic”.
The reality is that The Record newspapers are a major part of a $50,000,000 annual smear campaign by the well-heeled business interests most often involved in litigation against consumers and workers. That’s right. $50 Million Dollars!!! The asbestos industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and the petrochemical industry…folks like our concerned and safety conscious friends at BP, Merck and Dow Chemical.
These select major corporations earmark massive amounts of money to run these fake papers and other misinformation campaigns to change public sentiment against the jury system. They use these phony papers as a front to attack high profile attorneys who are best known for holding these industries accountable. They use false information, flagrantly exaggerated information, and innuendo. They have been caught trying to circumvent court rules which resulted in the courts having to grant new trials, wasting all the time and effort of a jury in a case…. including at least one case right here in Beaumont.
With more advertisers going to electronic media everyone understands the need to recruit new business opportunities. However, the Enterprise is compromising its integrity and risking other liabilities in knowingly recycling the maligning and distorted garbage The Record would call legitimate news. It is an affront to your readership in distributing a phony insert on behalf of these corporations, companies that for the most part have killed and crippled workers and consumers in our area in staggering numbers over the years. Lisa Rickard, the president of the Institute for Legal Reform (which is the wing of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that runs this paper), is a former headhunter and lobbyist from Dow Chemical Company, the corporation which brought us the Bhopal disaster which killed thousands and crippled hundreds of thousands, as well as the proud owner of the largest asbestos mines in the United States. The asbestos from these mines killed and crippled thousands and thousands of hard-working Americans, including workers here in Southeast Texas. In fact, their asbestos was still used in products for distribution in Texas even after it was banned in California many years ago for being designated the highest potential risk of death of all products on the market for consumer purchase at the time.
In addition, Ms. Rickard is now also in charge of the right-wing U.S. Chamber of Commerce program called “The Workforce Freedom Initiative”, designed to run unions into the ground. Again, the Southeast Texas area has a proud union tradition and I frankly do not know why The Enterprise would align itself with such controversial issues and characters. I suspect a lot of people in this area would not read The Enterprise, much less subscribe to it, if they knew that it was sponsoring an insert which not only is a propaganda rag but is run by people who want to put union workers out of their jobs.
Here are some interesting quotes on this very controversial publication, it’s ownership and editors:
“Of course I am biased….I am a Republican”. Co-owner of The Record publications Brian Timpone on his controversial role in operating a front newspaper for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“We don’t want anyone to know that this is printed on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce” . Tom Donahue. President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“The deliberate failure to indicate ownership of these “local papers” by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce introduces serious ethical concerns in journalism”. National Press Club Conference, 2012.
The activities of the ownership of The Record is tied to fraud, deceit, misrepresentation and plagiarism. June 2012 article of the Chicago Tribune.
Timpone’s outsourcing reporter company, Journatic, busted for using fake bylines. (Columbia Journalism Review, July 2012).
“Timpone is perpetrating the greatest fraud in the history of the media”. Claire St. Amant. July 08, 2012. (St. Amant is noted as one of the Editor and Publishers Top 25 under 35 in the newspaper industry).
“The Workforce Freedom Initiative is to preserve Democracy in America and restrain union activism”. U.S. Chamber of Commerce website, 2013.
The fact is that The Southeast Texas Record was opened up in Beaumont, Texas several years ago with the express purpose of trying to impact juror attitudes on civil cases and turn citizens against plaintiffs. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce runs yellow journalism articles sharply critical of plaintiff practice areas and of the leading lawyers involved in such litigation. They intentionally time various ” articles” and opinions with cases on the court dockets and give the papers away at the courthouse, in hopes that it will impact a juror’s thoughts negatively on any case they are called up to serve on. They also run these articles and then introduce them to mainstream papers on the wire services in hopes that they are picked up as legitimate news sources. Not to mention the fact that they engage in “cut and paste” practices of pulling select articles that they themselves write and publish and then circulate to legislators and others involved in the debate over our legal system.
For the Enterprise to support this agenda by extending the boundaries of distribution to the larger audience of readers throughout the area is a sad commentary on the present lack of discipline, leadership and independence this publication has historically enjoyed. BCA has called out The Record for this extensive history of manipulation and disreputable “reporting” and the response has been predictable, to be personally maligned in almost every edition of their paper. Because they are not a legitimate news source, they try to do the only thing left to do if you are a phony, attack people through personal vendettas. It is time to call out The Record, and their phony local editor, Marilyn Tennison, and tell them to take the carpet bagging propaganda elsewhere. At the very least, they should be outed for hiding their agenda behind the inane “local news” stories accounts that are created as cover for their underhanded plans.
Nor are these the only mechanisms of brainwashing the public. In years past, they had other programs scattered around the country, such as the “Citizens Against Lawsuits’ ‘ program, which allegedly was a grassroots campaign for tort reform but, in reality, was also exclusively manned and funded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. These were more along the lines of phony billboards and fliers.
And it’s no wonder that Mr. Timpone and Ms. Tennison want to see unions fail as well. In fact, Mr. Timpone’s associated company, Journatic, reports content for newspapers around the country faking the bylines on stories through the use of Filipino sweatshop reporters working for pennies a day. They basically reformat and embellish true stories from internet sources and sell it as fresh content to unsuspecting buyers, usually mainstream newspapers. (Columbia Journalism Review, July 6, 2012 edition for reference). Another Hearst owned newspaper, the Houston Chronicle, unsuspectingly relied on these characters for outsourced material and ended up posting an apology to their readers. (see Houston Press, July 03, 2012).
Our firm took issue and action with the jury tampering tactics and maligning stories of The Record several years ago. It involved the trial of a case of victims of asbestos poisoning. Not surprisingly, The Record immediately published some articles negative towards asbestos cases and began handing them out to jurors at the courthouse, hoping they would be unsuspecting of the fact that the stories were printed on behalf of the asbestos companies that help pay for their paper. We caught them and forced a hearing on the matter and to no surprise, they hired a bunch of high priced out of town lawyers paid for by the U.S. Chamber to argue that they had no duty to tell anyone who they worked for or what their motivations were. Do we really want these kinds of sleazy operators engaging in such misleading actions? Does The Enterprise choose to continue to align itself with such an organization?
We hope not. Restore integrity to your newspaper.
The following is Brent Coon’s Response to New York Times Op Ed on BP by Joe Nocera:
Before anyone starts feeling sorry for BP in the oil spill litigation and buy off on the article written by Mr. Nocera of the New York Times, reprinted in the Enterprise last week, certain facts should be known:
The New York Times is accepting millions of dollars in BP and U.S. Chamber of Commerce advertising. Full page ads directly criticizing the BP litigation, specifically the plaintiff lawyers involved in representing claimants.
This is all part of a long-term strategy of the Chamber and big business on tort reform (or corporate immunity legislation). In fact, the U.S. Chamber owns The Southeast Texas Record, which regularly spews falsehoods about the legal system and plaintiff lawyers.
Mr. Nocera has written several articles sympathetic to BP, some so blatantly wrong on the facts that the normally stoic Judge involved in this case blistered it and BP for the falsehoods. Just one example is where the reporter stated that the administrator of the settlement fund was a “plaintiffs’ lawyer” screwing BP. The facts are that the administrator was a lifelong defense lawyer, the former PRESIDENT of the defense bar and the person BP HAND PICKED to oversee the fund. BP also hand-picked the accounting firms and law firms to oversee the settlement fund.
This isn’t the first PR effort of BP in response to this litigation or other past sins. BP has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising since the oil spill. That they are sorry. That the Gulf is clean again. That they have learned their lesson. Using reporters to do their dirty work is just one angle.
I have litigated cases with BP for many years and they are pathological murderers. Their management and corporate culture is that of a sociopath. There is no moral compass. They were still on probation for FELONY MANSLAUGHTER from killing 15 workers in Texas City in 2005 when they killed 11 more in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Only two years ago they allowed a refining unit to leak highly toxic poisons into the entire community of Texas City for 45 days without reporting it to citizens, many of whom became sick. They have amassed more fines for violating safety laws THAN ALL OF THEIR COMPETITORS COMBINED!
Mr. Nocera condemns all mass torts and professes that “all the money goes to the lawyers”. Fact is, in the BP class settlement, 75% of every recovery goes directly to the claimant. So the law firm gets 25% for handling the claim, rounding up the relevant documentation to support the claim, negotiating a myriad of issues of the 1200 page settlement agreement, dealing with the attorneys and accountants for the fund, and addressing the appeals process. Our firm even waived all fees in many of the interim payments last year.
Mr. Nocera congratulates BP for setting up a “voluntary claims fund” after the oil spill. What he forgot to mention is that FEDERAL LAW required them to. It wasn’t voluntary. The law mandates it. It is called the Oil Pollution Act, passed by Congress in 1990. What he didn’t say is that BP rejected payment on the vast majority of claims in an effort to starve people out.
My firm represents thousands of individuals and businesses all along the Gulf of Mexico, from Texas through Florida for losses associated with the spill. More than three years afterwards, there are still tens of millions of gallons of toxic dispersant- mixed oil on the bottom of the gulf. Entire dead zones on the bottom of the sea. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs after the spill, from the shutdown of operations in the Gulf, to the ban on shrimping and fishing, to the devastating flight away from many of the hot spot tourist areas all along the Gulf. Thousands of small mom and pop businesses went under because they didn’t have enough capital to stay afloat.
I have been a trial attorney for almost 30 years. I have handled cases all over the country. Our firm has drafted legislation to make products and workplaces safer. We have engaged in settlements which have routed tens of millions of dollars to educational and medical programs to improve health and safety in the industrial sector. We have testified in Austin and in Congress. Anyone who really wants to claim to be an expert on our legal system and why we should blame the plaintiff lawyers raise your hand for a debate. A real debate. A debate where you can’t hide behind fake stories, fake facts, fake issues and fake articles. The legitimate press has a responsibility to be authoritative and reliable. Mr. Nocera did his readership and that of the Times a disservice when an article was run that was blatantly wrong on most of the relevant facts on a matter of high public import. Failing to admit that the NYTs was taking BP blood money in the process only further compromised their credibility…proof that these days even the NYTs can succumb to the use of attack ads, anecdotes, misinformation, bad investigative reporting, self-dealing, sensationalism and yes…pandering to corporations who are willing to pay them enough.
Brent W. Coon
ILR’s “Faces of Lawsuit Abuse”
In 1998, The U.S. Chamber of Commerce founded a national organization called the Institute for Legal Reform (ILR). The ILR is the branch of the Chamber that spends hundreds of millions of dollars each year launching propaganda campaigns aimed at demonizing trial lawyers and the legal system. Among its favorite tactics is creating public awareness campaigns that highlight “frivolous” lawsuits in attempt to coerce the public into believing that most civil lawsuits are brought by people who are simply trying to take advantage of the system. The latest example of this is the ILR’s “Faces of Lawsuit Abuse” campaign.
AAJ Statement on BP’s Campaign to Evade Accountability
The following is a statement from American Association for Justice (AAJ) President Mary Alice McLarty in response to BP’s latest moves to evade accountability and delay justice for Gulf Coast small business owners:
“BP pled guilty to causing the worst environmental disaster in US history that resulted in the loss of Americans lives and American business. Now they have launched a PR campaign to evade accountability for the damage they caused and restrain continued shareholder frustration.
“Instead of dumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into a PR campaign, BP needs to stop backpedaling and live up to the settlement its corporate lawyers negotiated and agreed to. BP is not a victim of small businesses, judges or even trial lawyers; they are still just a corporate felon who pled guilty to killing 11 rig workers, polluted the Gulf and ruined the livelihoods of thousands of Americans.”
- BP pled guilty to 11 counts of manslaughter and lying to the Federal Government, stemming from the Deepwater Horizon tragedy.
- BP is a convicted felon.
- BP was on probation for three prior disasters at the time of the blowout.
- BP has been suspended from doing business with the US government for a lack of corporate integrity.
- For nearly two years BP’s team of corporate lawyers negotiated, co-authored, agreed to, and sought Court approval of every word in the Settlement Agreement.
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 http://www.justice.org/newsroom.
Supreme Court rules generic-drug makers can’t be sued over defects
By David G. Savage
Americans who are badly hurt by a generic drug may not sue the drug maker for compensation, the Supreme Court ruled Monday, giving manufacturers a shield from liability for the medications taken most commonly in this country.
The 5-4 decision tossed out a $21-million jury verdict in favor of a New Hampshire woman who suffered horrible skin burning over most of her body and was nearly blinded after taking a pill to relieve shoulder pain.
The court majority said the federal Food and Drug Administration had approved this drug for sale, and that federal approval trumps a state’s consumer-protection laws.
In the case decided Monday, Karen Bartlett, the woman who suffered the severe reaction to sulindac, sued Mutual Pharmaceuticals, and a jury decided the pain pill was unreasonably dangerous.
The company appealed, arguing that the verdict conflicted with federal law.
Bartlett’s “situation is tragic and evokes deep sympathy, but a straightforward application of preemption law requires that the judgment [in her favor] be reversed,” Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote for the court majority. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence Thomas agreed.
Dissenting, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said that “the court has left a seriously injured consumer without any remedy despite Congress’ explicit efforts to preserve state common-law liability.”
The ruling creates an oddity in the law. People who are hurt by a brand-name drug can sue the drug maker for damages, the Supreme Court said in 2009.
But the same is not true for those who take a generic drug. The court has now handed down two rulings that have closed the door to lawsuits from people injured by a generic drug.
About 80% of prescriptions written in this country are for generic drugs.
Learn More About the Chamber of Commerce’s Bad Behavior
Videos Exposing Chamber Corruption
Luckily Brent Coon and Associates are not the only ones to have seen through the egregious charade perpetrated by the U.S. Chamber, others have gotten involved in exposing them for the liars, cheats and charlatans that they really are.
Brent Coon Talks about the Chamber of Commerce Conspiracy
Brent Coon discusses the Chamber of Commerce and how they have become a tool used to promote Tort Reform
Pearson’s Fancy Pants
A humorous video about the reality of frivolous lawsuits
Chamber of Commerce Conspiracy
Learn about how the Chamber of Commerce is being used to promote Tort Reform and make it more difficult to file lawsuits