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News
May 10, 2010

U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform: Rhode Island Personal Injury Lawyer Is Unqualified to Serve on the Federal Bench

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Lisa A. Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), made the following statement on the nomination of John J. “Jack” McConnell for a judgeship on the U.S. District Court in Rhode Island:

“The United States Senate Judiciary Committee should reject the nomination of John J. ‘Jack’ McConnell for a judgeship on the U.S. District Court in Rhode Island. 

“In addition to earning a lackluster rating from the American Bar Association, Mr. McConnell has defined his plaintiffs’ lawyer career by suing employers based on controversial legal theories. For example, he has spent a large part of the past decade advancing a misguided interpretation of the public nuisance theory in lead paint litigation, which was rejected by four state supreme courts, including the unanimous rejection by the Rhode Island Supreme Court.

“Mr. McConnell’s ability to render fair and impartial rulings, especially with regard to business defendants, should also be questioned in light of millions of dollars in future annual payouts he will recover from an organization closely tied to his current employer, the Motley Rice plaintiffs’ lawyer firm. 

“His apparent bias against the business community and questionable judicial philosophy raise serious reservations about his fitness to serve a lifetime appointment to the federal bench.    

“Mr. McConnell’s elevation to the federal judiciary could create a ‘magnet’ jurisdiction that would encourage additional meritless, plaintiffs’ lawyer-driven lawsuits at a time when American employers are working harder than ever to recover from our economic recession.” 

A multi-industry letter to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee opposing the nomination can be found here.

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 of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

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