*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.
I have to tell you about quite a wild thing that’s going on in the area of protecting big business, excusing the wrongdoing of big business, making it easier for big corporations to just avoid responsibility for the things that they sometimes do wrong and the ways that big business sometimes hurts people. Some of you may be familiar with the term tort reform. Now, if you ask advocates of tort reform what they mean, they will talk to you about judicial wrongdoing, too many lawsuits, frivolous lawsuits, outrageous settlements being given to plaintiffs who sue corporations. That’s what the tort reform people will tell you. But at its core, a huge part of tort reform is making it harder for individuals who were wronged by a business, a corporation did something wrong, the individual wants to now hold the business accountable. Tort reform would make it harder for individuals to the fullest extent of the law and their responsibility to hold corporations accountable.
Now, as I’ve said before, sometimes people get mad that lawyers in class action lawsuits or mass tort cases make a lot of money. They make too much money. They keep too much money. That is a perfectly reasonable concern. The other side of it though, is that it’s insanely expensive and difficult to work and try those cases. It can take years, millions of dollars, dozens of lawyers to finish some of these huge cases against big tobacco, against companies like DuPont and others. And the lawyers working on those cases are working on a contingency, meaning they might work for years and end up making no money. So it is true that in exchange for that risk, many of those attorneys are well compensated without a doubt. But understand that were it not that way, who is even going to be able to try these cases? So the long and short of it is the more that so-called tort reform succeeds, the fewer legal remedies that consumers and everyday people will find themselves with.
So that’s the backstory. There’s a new name that has entered this tort reform game, and the name is Suzanne Spaulding, and she’s doing everything she can to make it more difficult to hold corporations accountable. She’s going after the lawyers who do exactly this type of work. Suzanne Spaulding has become the next step in the evolution of corporate attacks on lawyers. And Spaulding has done something that, in a sense is pretty slick, like I have to hand it to her. Instead of the normal attacks, these lawyers are ambulance chasers, tort reform, blah, blah, blah. She has shifted to these lawyers are spreading disinformation. They’re spreading disinformation, she says, and I’ll explain what what it is. Suzanne Spaulding is a senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Sounds pretty, pretty legit, right?
The story she’s been telling is that the lawyers who criticize the judiciary are perpetuating a form of disinformation. When lawyers say, hey, here’s a judge who’s compromised in some way by political influence. Here’s a court that’s in the pocket of big businesses. Suzanne Spaulding says, the lawyers are wrong for saying that because they’re eroding confidence in the justice system. Well, maybe we should be questioning the justice system. Nope, that’s disinformation. Many of you know Mike Papantonio, one of the biggest trial lawyers in the country. I’ve done shows before from his conference in Las Vegas once or twice a year. He has a show called America’s Lawyer. The show used to be on RT, as were the shows of many people who eventually realized RT is really bad news. This includes Pap, it includes our friend Thom Hartmann and others who eventually pulled, pulled the plug on RT, which was a hundred percent the right thing to do.
So anyway, America’s Lawyer is an online show now, and they talk about holding the judiciary accountable, biased judges, corporations that are intertwined with the judiciary, all of it. And by its nature, Suzanne Spaulding says, oh, those, that’s, that type of commentary is disinformation. As accurate as it might be, nope. Disinformation, bad for the country, which is very, very dangerous stuff. Now, lots of this stuff is quite newsworthy. Mike Papantonio was the lead litigator when the C8 DuPont case came to trial, and we talked about that, over the dumping of chemicals into a tributary of the Ohio River. Many such examples. Well, it came through to me that through these think tanks, they’re always innocuously named, the Center for Strategic and International Studies and others. This is the line of attack. Now, it all sounds very official, but the closer you look, you realize it’s all associated with corporations.
And Suzanne Spaulding and CSIS are singling out Pap and trial lawyers more broadly. And it turns out CSIS is funded by the Smith Richardson Foundation, Bank of America, Northrop Grumman the defense contractor, BP and the oil industry, the Koch Foundation, it’s all the usual suspects, and they are weaponizing this method of attacking lawyers. Understand that if they were to succeed, they take away mechanisms for people to hold corporations accountable. That’s the, that’s the impact if they were to succeed. So going after the trial lawyers is the wrong approach. The better approach would be, hey, let’s fix the ways in which the judiciary is actually compromised. Let’s fix this interplay revolving door between the corporations and the judiciary and courts and regulators. Now, that’s, the lawyers are the disinformation. That’s exactly the wrong approach, and we all just need to be aware of if these folks succeed, it will be more difficult for those wronged by corporations to really hold those corporations accountable.