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December 28, 2009

Florida Theaters Debut Movie Trailer of Small Business Victimized by Lawsuit Abuse

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) announced the launch of a movie trailer in Tampa and Orlando as part of its nationwide Faces of Lawsuit Abuse public awareness campaign, which aims to show how abusive lawsuits affect small businesses and workers in very real ways.

The most recent Lawsuit Climate poll conducted by ILR ranks Florida as one of the worst states in the nation for the fairness of its litigation environment.  ILR President Lisa Rickard said, “We are bringing these stories to the public in Florida, which faces high unemployment and a bad litigation climate, as a reminder that lawsuits can hold back the small businesses that we are relying on to create jobs.”
 
The nationwide campaign includes a collection of video stories of lawsuit abuse victims. The trailer playing in Florida features a family-owned Michigan foundry that was sued by a man who had filed 23 previous lawsuits. The plaintiff alleged that the foundry, Acra Cast, was responsible for contamination on his cars and at his home. Acra Cast has always been in full compliance with all environmental regulations, and it was later discovered that the plaintiff did not own some of the cars he claimed compensation for. He had disposed of the carpets and cleaned the house siding before evidence could be collected. The lawsuit was eventually dismissed after almost three years in court but at significant cost, including almost $20,000 out of Acra Cast’s pocket—a large sum for the small company.
 
The movie trailer, which will play at AMC Veterans 24 in Tampa and Regal Oviedo Marketplace 22 in Orlando through January, can be seen at www.FacesOfLawsuitAbuse.org. The campaign also includes a national television, radio, and online advertising effort.
 
“The lawsuits filed against the small businesses featured in this campaign cost time and money, which could have been used to grow their companies and create jobs,” said Rickard. According to the Small Business Administration, 52% of lawsuits target small business, the economic engine that creates 64% of America’s jobs.
 
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 is the world’s largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.

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