WASHINGTON, D.C.—A Bay City, Michigan small business owner who stood up to a neighbor’s abusive lawsuit is recounting his 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. Richard Singer, co-owner of Acra Cast, Inc., a small foundry, tells his story in a short video featured on www.FacesofLawsuitAbuse.org.
“At a time when we are relying on small businesses to create jobs and help our economy recover, many are being burdened by the weight of abusive, costly lawsuits,” said ILR President Lisa Rickard.
Singer was sued by a man who had filed 23 previous lawsuits in Bay County. The plaintiff alleged that Acra Cast was responsible for contamination on his cars, the siding of his house and his carpet. Singer’s business has always been in full compliance with all environmental regulations, and as the case proceeded, Singer learned that the plaintiff did not even own some of the cars that he claimed compensation for and that 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 a significant cost, which included almost $20,000 out of Acra Cast’s pocket – a large sum for the small company.
“Any time an entrepreneur decides to go into business for himself, he’s incurring a lot of risk, and the rewards are not guaranteed by any means,” said Singer. “When you throw in the additional risk of lawsuits and their potential cost, it’s going to have—and has had—a serious effect on the economic engine of this country.”
Singer’s story 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.
“The lawsuits filed against the small business people featured in this campaign cost time and money that could have been used to grow their companies and create jobs,” 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.”
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.