By Paul Lagnese
Whether we realize it or not, our families are under attack. Each year, massive corporations re-launch coordinated efforts designed to increase profits and reward shareholders and CEOs. Wanting to make a dollar isn’t a bad thing, but we must be wary when those efforts put the personal and financial safety of our families at risk.
Powerful corporate interests often use their expansive wealth to create think-tanks, recruit talking heads on news programs, deploy misleading headlines from untrusted web and social media sources, and create lobbying and PR organizations with seemingly harmless monikers (for example, the American Tort Reform Association) that perpetuate their self-interests to the detriment of our families. These expensive and expansive campaigns attempt to manipulate you by disseminating half-truths, outright falsehoods, and divisive political rhetoric. Their reach has infiltrated your news feeds and made its way into the offices of too many elected officials in Harrisburg. We see the consequences of this all of the time in legislative initiatives that seek to provide immunity for corporations and hospitals, eliminate commonsense regulations that protect our families from harm and keep us safe, and make it harder for you to hold wrongdoers accountable for negligence.
The civil justice system is one safeguard that the Founding Fathers gave us despite what big corporations and insurance companies want you to believe. They will even go as far as calling counties in our state “judicial hellholes” because victims there received the justice they deserved after having their lives completely upended. Any place where a victim fought back against corporate special interests and won is a target of profit-driven CEOs. Their lobbyists and spokespersons try to hide or deflect the horrible tragedies that occurred by blaming the courts, state laws, and even the victims themselves.
Corporate America’s “profits over people” agenda, which has been all too successful, is wrong and undermines the credibility of our civil justice system. Although negligent conduct occurs everywhere in Pennsylvania, some counties go years without injured plaintiffs obtaining judicial verdicts holding wrongdoers responsible. Thus, the real question we should be asking is, “Why are there so many counties where victims get so little justice?”
It’s really quite simple – we have rights, and when those rights are trampled on because corporations weren’t transparent or their products led to injury or death, they must be held responsible for their actions. Corporate America goes out of its way to try to fool you and cover up the truth. It’s time we push back on their lies. If we don’t, our safety and the safety of our families is at stake.
Paul Lagnese is president of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice.