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December 10, 2009

National Campaign Against Abusive Litigation Spotlights PA Community Swimming Pool Closed by Lawsuit

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The employees of Mt. Laurel Pool in Hazleton, Pennsylvania—which closed after a man sued the pool for $100,000—recount their legal ordeal in the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform’s (ILR) Faces of Lawsuit Abuse campaign, which exposes the negative effects of abusive lawsuits on small businesses and individuals. Pool founder Evelyn Graham, manager Martha Caputo, former employee Brittany Conahan, and members of the community tell the pool’s story in a short video featured on www.FacesofLawsuitAbuse.org.
 
The plaintiff, ignoring a warning from the lifeguard and posted “no running” signs, cut his heel while running and jumping into the pool. The lifeguard cleaned and bandaged the plaintiff’s foot, and Caputo recalls that the plaintiff said, “It’s nothing. It’s just a little cut.” But the man and his wife later sued Mt. Laurel Pool for $100,000 in damages. Graham’s lawyers advised her to settle what she considered to be a frivolous lawsuit, and, fearing copycat suits, she decided to close the pool.
 
“When there are frivolous lawsuits, I don’t think that the people realize what an impact they’re going to have on the entire community,” said Conahan. Not only did the people of Hazleton lose their only swimming pool, many of the local youth lost their jobs.

“The lawsuit filed against Mt. Laurel Pool closed a valued community gathering place and cost jobs at a time when we need them most,” said Rickard.  “We are bringing these stories to the public to help people understand that our nation’s litigious culture will hamper the small businesses essential to our economic recovery.”
 
The story of Mt. Laurel Pool is one of the latest examples of abusive lawsuits posted on the Web site. The campaign, supported by a nationwide television, radio, and on-line advertising effort as well as movie theater trailers in targeted cities throughout the country, will run through early 2010.
 
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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