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September 12, 2016

Three Cheers for Three Companies who Refused to Cave to ‘Schoolyard Bullies’

An Investor’s Business Daily editorial last week highlighted three recent court victories for companies who went against the grain and took a stand against trial lawyer and prosecutor bullying.  

Houston, Texas-based Professional Janitorial Service (PJS) took on the powerful Service Employees International Union (SEIU) who used the union corporate campaign playbook to publicly attack and smear the company into agreeing to become unionized.

After the union made-up major untruths in an effort to scare their customers, the company sued them and won a multi-million-dollar judgment. Though the practice of organized public harassment and intimidation is a long-standing union tactic, apparently this is the first time the SEIU has been held to account for their actions in front of a jury.

Chevron also won yet another victory over plaintiffs’ lawyer Steven Donziger, who lost his appeal in federal court of a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act case brought against him by Chevron last year. Judge Lewis Kaplan’s original ruling said Donziger’s $9.5 billion judgment against Chevron was “procured by fraud.” The appeals court last month unanimously agreed with Judge Kaplan’s original ruling.

Earlier this year, FedEx refused to cave to Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors who claimed the company was conspiring to distribute pharmaceutical drugs illegally by not policing shipments from online pharmacies. The DOJ was seeking $1.6 billion but, after more than a decade pursuing the case, dropped all charges just days into the trial. The judge in the case said “the act of dismissal is entirely consistent with government’s overarching obligations to seek justice, even at the cost of some embarrassment.”

We could go on (check out what happened in a Minnesota company’s fight against criminal and civil government charges here), and, to be sure these bullies still routinely win settlements and consent agreements because companies cannot risk the high cost of losing. But the point is that sometimes shedding light on the problem of government, trial lawyer, and union bullies means having to fight them.

Three cheers for FedEx, Chevron and PJS!

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