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Spreading the pro-civil-justice message.

AAJ's Fight for Justice Communications Campaign continues to take on new issues--like federal preemption--and challenges as tort "reform" proponents launch fresh assaults on the civil justice system.

The Bush administration has made a concerted effort to use preemption to provide immunity for wrongdoers and boost corporate bottom lines. The Fight for Justice Communications Campaign is working to inform local communities about this threat to the people's right to have their day in court. The effort has garnered significant press attention in USA Today and many local papers.

For example, recent AAJ Communications stories highlighted the threat posed by proposed Department of Homeland Security rules governing security at high-risk chemical manufacturing and storage facilities. The rules would prohibit states from imposing their own, more stringent, security rules and would grant blanket immunity to chemical companies in the event that an attack on or accident at a plant released deadly chemicals into the environment.

The stories helped generate attention on Capitol Hill, and the blogosphere picked up the subject, placing preemption at the center of a major grassroots effort. On March 29, the Senate negated the proposed rules by passing Supplemental Appropriations Bill [section]502, which expressly permits states to adopt chemical facility regulations stricter than federal rules.

AAJ is working to get press coverage of fights against civil justice threats in the states, too. From Arizona's battle over legislation that would cap damages in medical malpractice cases to Kentucky's fight to allow Comair crash victims to receive compensation for the loss of their spouses, AAJ has been pushing editorial boards across the country to give equal time to wronged consumers and victims, and driving local media, television, and radio to attend press events.

Members' message

The AAJ staff held briefings at the Miami convention in February to share the results of AAJ's latest polling on important issues and to provide members with guidance and tools for spreading the pro-civil-justice word. Attendees learned about the AAJ Rapid Response Team, a group that provides breaking news and suggestions about taking action. To join the team, e-mail rapid_response@

The AAJ Communications staff also conducted a number of media and message training sessions at the Leaders Forum Retreat in Las Vegas in March, helping members further develop their media skills.
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Title Annotation:Communications report
Date:May 1, 2007
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