Big Business, Big Hypocrites?
One of our most important rights as American citizens is protected by the First Amendment. It is the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. Simply put, it's the right to sue someone in court. But not everyone wants to honor this right. Government bodies financed and operated by multinational corporations, such as The Institute for Legal Reform, exist with the sole purpose to block individuals' access to justice for harm done by the defective goods or services furnished by corporations.
However, there exists a clear double-standard when it comes to their own right to sue. Caterpillar, for example, has found itself in a number of lawsuits about asbestos exposure to its workers. It attempted to escape liability by arguing that the company didn't technically manufacture asbestos, so it shouldn't be held accountable. That doesn't change the fact that Caterpillar knew of the potential health hazards but chose to expose its workers anyway. The liability here is clear – Caterpillar exposed innocent people to deadly asbestos, and this is an offense that shouldn't be forgiven on a mere technicality.
That same company that tried to avoid responsibility for exposing its workers to asbestos filed a lawsuit against Disney because it didn't like Disney's portrayal of tractors in a movie. This type of absurdity (“no one else should sue, but I can when it satisfies my needs”) shows the hypocrisy of these corporations. At the heart of this hypocrisy is this shared belief among big businesses: profits come before the rights of people. Sadly, recent Supreme Court decisions seem to reinforce their belief as the law continues to limit an individual's right to hold negligent corporations accountable for their wrongs. One might ask: how much harm will private citizens have to endure before the government realizes that we the people are the ones who need protection?