The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Legal Reform on Wednesday is releasing its 2008 Lawsuit Climate report, an annual exercise in which the ILR surveys in-house counsels on their perceptions of how reasonable and balanced each state's tort liability system is. (The 2007 survey is available here.) It's one of three prominent reports/ratings that attempt to quantify state tort climates, the others being the Pacific Research Institute's Tort Liability Index and the American Tort Reform Association's Judicial Hellholes report. Different methodologies, different results, but all have their merits, and taken together they paint a pretty good picture of a state's civil litigation environment.
To the Chamber's contribution the American Association for Justice responds with a PR blunderbuss, a news release issued today before anyone over there has even seen the report.
Yes, it's one of these prebuttals that some PR expert decided was an effective way to pre-spin the media. Presumably. The headline: "AAJ: U.S. Chamber 'Study' Part of Extreme Corporate Agenda to Destroy Civil Justice System"
Did we mention that THEY HAVEN'T READ THE STUDY?
It's the usual ad hominem: The Chamber represents corporations and corporations are evil, especially insurance companies. As are the counsels they surveyed: "The 'study' is based on a survey of corporate defense lawyers from multi-million dollar corporations who are paid to avoid accountability for their misconduct and negligence."
Really? Every single one of them? Is that part of their job description?
We're used to the over-the-top rhetoric and personal attacks, and the intellectual dishonesty is par for the course. But you have to wonder -- As a news release, this document is aimed at the media. Does the AAJ think all reporters are that stupid? If this release came across my newsroom computer, I'd be pretty insulted.