New ILR Web site personalizes lawsuit abuse

David Yates Dec. 20, 2007, 7:36am

The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform has launched a new Web site, "I am Lawsuit Abuse," created to voice the concerns of small business owners and everyday people who have been impacted by frivolous lawsuits.

The Southeast Texas Record is owned by the Institute for Legal Reform, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

"By giving voice to these stories, we hope that Americans will come to further recognition of the far-reaching impact lawsuits have on society today," said ILR President Lisa Rickard said in a statement. "The victims of lawsuit abuse include our friends, our neighbors, and our local, family-owned businesses. Frivolous lawsuits impact our children and our society as a whole."

ILR released a survey earlier this year of small business owners which revealed that more than 75 percent are concerned about lawsuits, while another ILR survey showed the price tag for lawsuits to small businesses is $98 billion, up 13 percent in three years.

The new Web site features a Southeast Texas business owner who claims to know the cost of frivolous litigation first hand.

Jerry Lightfoot is vice president of Orange County Building Materials in Vidor, which was started by his father in 1975.

Lightfoot told that his company was slapped with a lawsuit when a board they had sold was used improperly as a ceiling joist and broke under the weight of two men. One of the men caught another ceiling joist, but the other fell and was injured. The injured man sued the builder, the man who almost fell with him, and Orange County Building Materials, claiming the board they had sold was "defective."

The lawsuit also features Jin and Soo Chung, owners of the dry cleaning business involved in the infamous $54 million lawsuit over a pair of pants, talking about coming to grips with the lawsuit.

"This campaign is not only about showing stories of victims of lawsuit abuse, it's about sharing stories and giving people the power to stand up and speak out. It's about letting Americans know that there are perhaps millions of people affected directly by abusive lawsuits, and that it's time to change our lawsuit system," Rickard said in a statement on the ILR Web site. "It is our hope that the Web site will provide one more way for people stand up and say enough is enough."

To read more stories about lawsuit abuse, go to

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