The Manufacturers’ Accountability Project hosted a media roundtable with National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter and Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge to discuss the troubling trend of baseless litigation against manufacturers.
The attorneys general kicked off the roundtable discussing why they signed on to the recent amicus brief in the San Francisco and Oakland lawsuits. They moved on to highlight the importance of manufacturing to their respective states and discuss the impact the lawsuits will have on this critical sector. They also emphasized how the courts are not the proper venue to set national environmental policy.
Below are some highlights of the discussion:
NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons
“The NAM launched our Manufacturers’ Accountability Project last year, and it was in response to a pretty troubling trend that we are seeing across the country as plaintiffs lawyers and headline-seeking politicians,…they are teaming up to sue manufacturers and hoping to score a payday.”
- “The frivolous lawsuits waste taxpayers’ dollars and this jackpot justice system is a threat to manufacturing workers because if the trend continues, quite simply, it could harm manufacturers in all sectors and sizes.”
- “These lawsuits, they solve nothing and they only hurt our legal system. At the end of the day, the trial lawyers might be padding their pockets, but these lawsuits will do absolutely nothing for workers, for families or for the environment.”
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson
- “There’s a right way to do the right thing, there’s a wrong way to do the right thing, there’s a wrong way to do the wrong thing. In this particular case, I believe this is the wrong way to do the wrong thing.”
- “What you’re seeing is an attempt…when they can’t legislate something they try to regulate it and when they can’t regulate it, they try to litigate it. And that is not a way to implement national energy policy—through litigation by unelected judges through no transparent open debate.”
- “I’m of the strong personal view that this is not a justiciable or a lawful question. It’s a policy question. It’s a political question, and should not be determined by the courts.”
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter
- “I’ve got a responsibility…to the state of Oklahoma and all its citizen, so when I look at the threat that these lawsuits present to our economy, I have an overriding responsibility to address that.”
- “This is policy, this needs to be in the legislature, it needs to be determined in Congress, particularly when we are dealing with national environmental policy.”
- “In short, the courts are no place to determine national environmental policy. And public nuisance is not a theory the judges should employ in these kind of cases.”
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge
- “Why is Arkansas getting involved in this case in California? Or why would Arkansas care about what happens in Colorado? What it comes down to is that what’s being done in these cases will impact Arkansans, will impact folks in Oklahoma and in South Carolina and across the country.”
- “Congress thought long and hard about this—making sure states were in a position to work cooperatively with the EPA on implementing things such as the Clean Air Act.”
- “This case is not about these jurisdictions in California. It’s about the impact it will have nationally.”
The roundtable can be heard in its entirety HERE.