Letter from the President
As Americans, there are two places where we are all supposed to be equal—at the ballot box when we vote and in our courtrooms before a jury of our peers. That equality is disappearing in our elections. Most people can’t afford to run for public office. You need your own money before you can even file. Then there are the big money contributions to candidates and the millions being spent in independent ad campaigns to influence your vote.
That leaves our courtrooms. Our 7th Amendment right to trial by jury in civil cases is one of the most fundamental rights we have. Often overlooked, it is the one right that ensures we can challenge the government when our other rights are threatened and we can hold wrongdoers accountable when they harm us physically or financially.
Because corporate wrongdoers are held accountable in our courtrooms, our civil justice system is under a relentless attack. They hide behind front groups like Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse and the American Tort Reform Association. These special interests don’t want to improve our legal climate or restrict “frivolous lawsuits” as they claim. They want to shut state consumers, workers and business owners out of our courtrooms so they can increase their profits at our expense. If they can’t be held accountable in our courts, than none of us are safe.
In 2014, billion-dollar corporate special interests funneled big money into West Virginia elections to buy themselves a legislature to would pass laws that eliminate corporate accountability and increase corporate profits at our expense of West Virginia workers, consumers and small businesses. Our new legislature gave them what they wanted. Ordinary people like us have lost our equality at the ballot box because we can’t compete with the secret corporate money in elections. That leaves our courtrooms, but the legislation advanced by these corporate interests limits their accountability and locks us out of the courtroom. Corporations get immunity and big profits. West Virginia consumers, workers and small businesses get nothing.
That needs to change now—and it begins with you.
Are you a plaintiffs’ attorney practicing in West Virginia? You need to be a member of the West Virginia Association for Justice. WVAJ provides you with the resources you need to represent your clients effectively. Join today!
Are you a West Virginia consumer, worker or small business owner? WVAJ works every day to protect your 7th Amendment right to trial by jury. Our courtrooms are the one place where you are equal to the wealthiest people, most powerful corporations and the government. Do not let that right be taken away from you. Join the fight today through our Consumer Protection Alliance. We will keep you informed on issues and legislation that affect you.
For more information, email us.
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