David C. Johnson
This is a much-condensed version of the Commonweal Institute report with the same title. Author David C. Johnson wrote this article at the request of this Canadian law journal, as the same organizations and individuals that are seeking to undermine the civil justice system in the United States are carrying out a similar campaign in other Anglophone countries.
Read the article.
The Commonweal Institute report, The Attack on Trial Lawyers and Tort Law, is available online in two formats: HTML, which means viewable online as web pages (better for slower connections) and PDF format, which can be viewed or downloaded for printing
For additional information, please visit Commonweal Institute's Information Page -- A collection of links to articles, reports and resources for learning about the right-wing movement, its history, how it is funded and how it operates.
ON YOUR OWN?
This comprehensive report describes the conservative movement's goals and methods in its sustained, effective campaign to undermine the civil justice system. A network of seemingly-independent organizations is funded by a small cluster of conservative foundations, motivated both by an ideology interest in weakening constraints on the conduct of corporate entitities and a political agenda that seeks to limit trial lawyers' ability to contribute money to "the left". The so-called "tort reform" movement utilizes an extensive conservatve communications network to disseminate ideological messages to the public and political leaders. A coordinated, strategic communications and marketing campaign will be required to counter this assault on the civil justice system.
This is the Introduction of "The Attack on Trial Lawyers and Tort Law"
References for "The Attack on Trial Lawyers and Tort Law"
Notes & References
 Stern, Seth. "Now, trial lawyers could use a good lawyer - The long-maligned group faces a host of legislative moves to curb its influence." Christian Science Monitor. June 10, 2003. Viewed August 7, 2003 <http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0610/p02s02-usju.html>
Section 1 of "The Attack on Trial Lawyers and Tort Law"
Tort Reform Organizations and the Far Right
"For the last 15 years, insurance companies, manufacturers of dangerous products and chemicals, the tobacco industry and other major industries have been engaged in a nationwide assault on the civil justice system. In nearly every state and in Congress, corporations and their insurers have waged a relentless campaign to change the laws that give sick and injured consumers the ability to hold their offenders responsible for the injuries they cause. . .
Section 3 of "The Attack on Trial Lawyers and Tort Law"
Section 3 - Effectiveness of the Tort Reform Campaign
The Right Sets the Public Agenda
In recent years, the Right and the tort reform movement have enjoyed unprecedented success in influencing both federal and state legislation and policies by: 1) using organizations perceived by the public as independent, 2) repeating the anti-tort message as consistently as possible through multiple channels, 3) employing sophisticated communications methods, 4) following a coherent long-term plan, and 5) coordinating both ideologically and tactically with the Right's network of advocacy organizations.
As a result, the Right's message amplification infrastructure successfully drowns out significant opposing voices. As People for the American Way Foundation's study "Buying a Movement" has put it:
This is the beginning of Commonweal Institute's report "The Attack on Trial Lawyers and Tort Law" in HTML format (a series of cross-linked web pages).
You can also click here to read the entire report in PDF format.
"With Republicans in charge of much of Washington - and moving to put limits on litigation - the headquarters of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA) could be described as a building under siege. [. . .] ATLA lobbyists are fighting a wave of legislation aimed at capping what juries can award, curbing class-action suits, and protecting individual industries from litigation. Similar bills are getting passed in states, and even attorneys themselves are piling on - filing petitions to limit plaintiff lawyers' fees.
Appendix 4 of "The Attack on Trial Lawyers and Tort Law"
Examples of the Involvement and Funding of Right-Wing Organizations That Advocate Tort Reform
Section 2 of "The Attack on Trial Lawyers and Tort Law"
The right-wing foundations described in Section 1 fund a coordinated network of advocacy organizations, providing general operating support rather than funding narrowly-focused programs. At the center of this network are multi-issue, e.g., tort reform, school privatization, pro-life, etc., think tanks that are marketing and communications organizations, oriented aggressively toward media relations and public communications, as well as traditional scholarly idea generating institutions. Because they address a variety of issues from the same philosophical perspective, the think tanks are able to advance an underlying ideological agenda.