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NAM President & CEO Jay Timmons Highlights the Misguided Lawsuits Targeting Manufacturers in State of Manufacturing Address

Houston, TX – Today, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons delivered the 2019 State of Manufacturing Address at Lone Star College in Houston, Texas. In remarks prepared for delivery, Timmons discusses the rise of misguided public nuisance lawsuits filed against manufacturers and highlights the role of the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project in exposing the coalition of special interests driving these lawsuits:

“Right now, there are groups of trial lawyers slinking around the country tantalizing elected officials in cities and states with unrealistic promises of jackpot justice if they will only agree to sue energy manufacturers over climate change.”

“This is Houston—home to energy companies—so this matters to you. These lawyers—they want to get rich at the expense of manufacturing workers.”

“The good news is courts have ruled repeatedly against these frivolous and baseless lawsuits. But if they were ever to succeed because one activist judge decides to make a statement instead of applying the law, the lawyers will get their payday, the politicians will get some headlines—and the rest of us will still be left to solve the climate challenge.”

“At the NAM, through our Manufacturers’ Accountability Project, we’re exposing these schemes and making sure our leaders stand up against this threat—so that manufacturers can continue to lead. Because we don’t need politicians or attorneys for us to know that this earth is the only home we have, and we want to leave it better than we found it.”

“I want to be clear on this: manufacturers know that climate change is a very real problem that we all face. And manufacturers are developing the technologies that will make our environment healthier.”

Jay Timmons

President and CEO

National Association of Manufacturers

-MAP-

The Manufacturers’ Accountability Project (MAP) will set the record straight and highlight the concerted, coordinated campaign being waged by plaintiffs’ lawyers, public officials, deep-pocketed foundations and other activists who have sought to undermine and weaken manufacturers in the United States. This campaign will pull back the curtain to expose these efforts and to hold key actors accountable in order to protect our members and American manufacturing workers. The MAP is a project of the NAM’s Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action (MCLA), which serves as the leading voice of manufacturers in the nation’s courts. Visit us at mfgaccountabilityproject.org.

Manufacturers Urge Appeals Court to Dismiss NYC Climate Case

Washington, D.C. — The National Association of Manufacturers filed an amicus brief today in support of manufacturers who have been targeted by New York City in a lawsuit alleging they are responsible for the global challenge of climate change. The case was initially dismissed from federal court in July 2018 and is now on appeal in the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Phil Goldberg, Special Counsel for the NAM’s Manufacturers’ Accountability Project and co-author of the amicus brief, issued the following statement:

“The National Association of Manufacturers’ is committed to protecting the environment and to environmental sustainability, and fully supports the ongoing national effort to protect our environment and improve public health through appropriate laws and regulations. The NAM has grave concerns, though, about the attempt here to circumvent products liability law and create category liability for lawful, beneficial energy products that are essential to modern life.

“This lawsuit is part of a new wave of politically-oriented litigation born out of frustration that not enough is being done, particularly in Washington, D.C., on climate change. Under all legal theories, state and federal, it is abundantly clear that there is no viable common law cause of action against private actors for harms caused by global climate change or any weather event associated with climate change. Defendants are engaged in the production and sale of lawful products essential to modern life. New York City must not be allowed to turn the promotion and sale of energy into a liability-inducing event.

“The best way to reduce climate change impacts is for governments to work with America’s manufacturers, including Defendants, on new technologies that reduce emissions and make energy more efficient and environmentally friendly. Innovation, not litigation, has been the proven way America has brought about societal-wide technological advancement. For these reasons, as well as those stated in our brief, the NAM respectfully urges the Court to affirm the Judge Keenan’s decision.”

To view the full amicus brief, click here.

-MAP-

The Manufacturers’ Accountability Project (MAP) will set the record straight and highlight the concerted, coordinated campaign being waged by plaintiffs’ lawyers, public officials, deep-pocketed foundations and other activists who have sought to undermine and weaken manufacturers in the United States. This campaign will pull back the curtain to expose these efforts and to hold key actors accountable in order to protect our members and American manufacturing workers. The MAP is a project of the NAM’s Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action (MCLA), which serves as the leading voice of manufacturers in the nation’s courts. Visit us at mfgaccountabilityproject.org.

NAM’s MCLA Announces Phil Goldberg as Special Counsel

Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) announced the addition of Phil Goldberg as Special Counsel for the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project (MAP), an effort led by the Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action (MCLA), the NAM’s in-house legal arm and the leading voice of manufacturers in the courts. He will serve as a senior legal adviser and spokesman for the effort.

Started in 2017, the MAP was created to set the record straight and expose the concerted, coordinated political campaign being waged in the courts against America’s manufacturers. These lawsuits and other legal actions have sought to undermine and weaken manufacturers in the United States through a series of baseless public nuisance suits and other legal tactics.

“For more than a year, the NAM has fought back successfully against this coordinated attempt to shake down manufacturers over baseless public nuisance litigation. Last year, three public nuisance cases brought by the cities of San Francisco, Oakland and New York were all thrown out by federal judges, and the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project will work tirelessly to build on that record in 2019,” said NAM Senior Vice President and General Counsel Linda Kelly, who leads the MCLA. “Phil is one of the brightest legal minds in this space and brings impeccable credentials to the table on behalf of America’s manufacturers and manufacturing workers. We are excited to have him on board.”

“The NAM and its Manufacturers’ Accountability Project are the tip of the spear in the fight against the wave of unfounded public nuisance lawsuits targeting America’s manufacturers. The stakes could not be higher for manufacturers as well as the integrity of our legal system,” said Goldberg. “I look forward to helping manufacturers and manufacturing workers fight back against these deeply misguided lawsuits, which are more about politics than addressing the global challenge of climate change—and actually distract us from focusing on real solutions.”

Goldberg has more than 25 years of experience on liability-related public policy. He is the Managing Partner of the Washington office of Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P. and the Co-Chair of its Public Policy Group. He also serves as director of the Progressive Policy Institute’s Center for Civil Justice. He authored amici briefs submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2011 climate change case Connecticut v. AEP and the Supreme Court of Rhode Island in Rhode Island v. Lead Industries Association. The Rhode Island and New Jersey Supreme Courts cited Goldberg’s articles in denying overly expansive public nuisance theories.

Before joining Shook in 2003, Goldberg spent eight years as an aide to three Democratic members of Congress and three years as a vice president of litigation communications for two leading public relations firms. He received his law degree from George Washington University Law School, where he was Order of the Coif, and his Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, from Tufts University.

More information about the MCLA can be found here. More information about the MAP can be found here.

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12 million men and women, contributes $2.25 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic impact of any major sector and accounts for more than three-quarters of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the Manufacturers or to follow us on Shopfloor, Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

 

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Manufacturers Condemn New York City Climate Lawsuit on One-Year Anniversary

Washington, D.C. — The National Association of Manufacturers’ Senior Vice President and General Counsel Linda Kelly released the following statement on the one-year anniversary of the City of New York’s public nuisance lawsuit against manufacturers:

“From the beginning, New York City’s baseless lawsuit against energy manufacturers has proven to be a misguided attempt to hurt a vital American industry we all rely on to meet our daily needs. City officials, including Mayor de Blasio, have made clear that the true purpose of the lawsuit is to attack manufacturers and manufacturing workers. The issue of climate change is a global public policy issue that has no place in the courts, a point that judges across the legal spectrum have noted in dismissing these frivolous cases, including New York City’s, and we expect the same outcome for the City’s appeal.

“Energy manufacturers continue to innovate more sustainable products and processes, a fact New York City clearly understands. Since early last year, the City has been increasingly turning to natural gas to meet its energy needs and reduce its environmental footprint. Rather than suing the very manufacturers they are working with to reduce emissions – which will do nothing to solve climate change and just wastes taxpayer resources – the City should work constructively with manufacturers so that we can address this challenge while providing affordable energy to New Yorkers.”

-MAP-

The Manufacturers’ Accountability Project (MAP) will set the record straight and highlight the concerted, coordinated campaign being waged by plaintiffs’ lawyers, public officials, deep-pocketed foundations and other activists who have sought to undermine and weaken manufacturers in the United States. This campaign will pull back the curtain to expose these efforts and to hold key actors accountable in order to protect our members and American manufacturing workers. The MAP is a project of the NAM’s Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action (MCLA), which serves as the leading voice of manufacturers in the nation’s courts. Visit us at mfgaccountabilityproject.org.

Despite SCOTUS Decision, Mass. AG Investigation Likely to Fail, Says Manufacturers Group

Washington, DC – National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Senior Vice President and General Counsel Linda Kelly responded to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision declining to hear ExxonMobil’s appeal of the Massachusetts Supreme Court’s April 2018 decision allowing Massachusetts Attorney General Healey’s investigation into the company’s climate change statements to move forward:

“The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to not take this case does not change the underlying problems with Attorney General Healey’s investigation. The New York Attorney General’s office brought essentially the same investigation in 2015, received millions of documents from the company, and failed to find a smoking gun. The root of the problem here is that this is a misguided political effort to hold a single manufacturer responsible for a global problem. This political investigation is an abuse of the state’s law enforcement efforts and a waste of Massachusetts’ tax dollars and resources.”

-MAP-

The Manufacturers’ Accountability Project (MAP) will set the record straight and highlight the concerted, coordinated campaign being waged by plaintiffs’ lawyers, public officials, deep-pocketed foundations and other activists who have sought to undermine and weaken manufacturers in the United States. This campaign will pull back the curtain to expose these efforts and to hold key actors accountable in order to protect our members and American manufacturing workers. The MAP is a project of the NAM’s Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action (MCLA), which serves as the leading voice of manufacturers in the nation’s courts. Visit us at mfgaccountabilityproject.org.

MAP to Plaintiffs: “Changing Lawyers Won’t Help Your Case in Misguided Climate Litigation”

Washington, DC – The Manufacturers’ Accountability Project (MAP), an arm of the National Association of Manufacturers, responded to news reports that San Francisco and Oakland both replaced Hagens Berman with Sher Edling as its legal representation in the cities’ continued attempt to sue manufacturers over climate change:

“The problem isn’t the quality of the law firm, it is the quality of the lawsuit,” said MAP Executive Director Lindsey de la Torre. “Over the past year, two federal judges have dismissed three baseless climate lawsuits targeting manufacturers, including those brought by Oakland and San Francisco. The fact these cities are now shaking up their legal teams speaks to the disarray this misguided effort now finds itself in after repeated defeats in the courtroom.”

-MAP-

The Manufacturers’ Accountability Project (MAP) will set the record straight and highlight the concerted, coordinated campaign being waged by plaintiffs’ lawyers, public officials, deep-pocketed foundations and other activists who have sought to undermine and weaken manufacturers in the United States. This campaign will pull back the curtain to expose these efforts and to hold key actors accountable in order to protect our members and American manufacturing workers. The MAP is a project of the NAM’s Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action (MCLA), which serves as the leading voice of manufacturers in the nation’s courts. Visit us at mfgaccountabilityproject.org.

Manufacturers to Acting NY AG Underwood: Your Frivolous and Costly Lawsuit Will Fail

Washington, D.C. — In response to New York’s Acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood filing a lawsuit today against Exxon Mobil, the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project’s Executive Director Lindsey de la Torre released the following statement:

“Today’s lawsuit is simply the latest in a string of attempts to target manufacturers in America. Acting New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood has picked up the reins of a failed investigation initiated by former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that spanned three years and four million pages of material that led nowhere. Rather than focus on productive solutions, Attorney General Underwood moved ahead with this politically-motivated lawsuit, wasting even more taxpayer resources in an effort to infringe on manufacturers’ First Amendment rights. Manufacturers will continue to stand strong and fight back against these abuses of our legal system and efforts to undermine our sector, while maintaining our commitment to addressing environmental challenges.”

-MAP-

The Manufacturers’ Accountability Project (MAP) will set the record straight and highlight the concerted, coordinated campaign being waged by plaintiffs’ lawyers, public officials, deep-pocketed foundations and other activists who have sought to undermine and weaken manufacturers in the United States. This campaign will pull back the curtain to expose these efforts and to hold key actors accountable in order to protect our members and American manufacturing workers. The MAP is a project of the NAM’s Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action (MCLA), which serves as the leading voice of manufacturers in the nation’s courts. Visit us at mfgaccountabilityproject.org.

 

MAP Praises 12 State Attorneys General for Supporting Manufacturers Against Baseless Lawsuit in King County, WA

Washington, D.C. — After 12 state attorneys general filed an amicus brief in defense of manufacturers in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, Manufacturers’ Accountability Project Executive Director Lindsey de la Torre released the following statement:

“Once more, a strong coalition of state attorneys general have joined together to support manufacturers against a baseless lawsuit filed by plaintiffs’ attorneys. In contrast, only three state attorneys general have filed briefs in support of this litigation. There’s good reason for that: federal judges have already dismissed three similar lawsuits in California and New York. As the federal judges and now the 12 state attorneys general rightly point out, the legislative and executive branches are the appropriate venues to address this issue, not the courts.  We are hopeful that the judge in King County, will agree and dismiss this baseless lawsuit.”

-MAP-

The Manufacturers’ Accountability Project (MAP) will set the record straight and highlight the concerted, coordinated campaign being waged by plaintiffs’ lawyers, public officials, deep-pocketed foundations and other activists who have sought to undermine and weaken manufacturers in the United States. This campaign will pull back the curtain to expose these efforts and to hold key actors accountable in order to protect our members and American manufacturing workers. The MAP is a project of the NAM’s Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action (MCLA), which serves as the leading voice of manufacturers in the nation’s courts. Visit us at mfgaccountabilityproject.org.

Manufacturers Urge Mayors to End Trend of Baseless Litigation

Washington, DC— Today, the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project (MAP) joined 29 state manufacturing groups in urging the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) to put an end to the baseless public nuisance lawsuits that are being filed against manufacturers by profit-seeking trial attorneys and public officials. The groups delivered the joint letter during the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) Fall Leadership Meeting in Columbia, South Carolina, in response to this disturbing trend. The letter was sent to the Honorable Stephen K. Benjamin, mayor of Columbia and president of the USCM, and Tom Cochran, CEO and executive director of the USCM.

The organizations wrote, “It is our hope that by again bringing this issue to your attention, we can work together on productive ways to reverse this concerning trend and focus on meaningful solutions. We ask you today to consider how these lawsuits have affected or may impact your courtrooms and constituents, and we seek to partner with the U.S. Conference of Mayors and its members to work toward putting an end to these lawsuits and focus on real solutions.” Over the past year, 14 cities and counties and one state have filed this type of misguided litigation against manufacturers. To date, federal courts have dismissed the trial attorney-driven lawsuits in Oakland, San Francisco and New York City.

“Despite repeated defeats in the courtroom in recent months, mayors and public officials continue to join these public nuisance lawsuits that not only undermine the success of manufacturers across the nation but do little to improve the environment. Manufacturers have made tremendous gains in reducing emissions and are hopeful that mayors will join us in encouraging real efforts rather than filing baseless litigation that has never succeeded in court,” said Lindsey de la Torre, executive director of the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project.

Click here to read the full letter. 

MAP Urges U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Public Nuisance Paint Case

Washington, D.C. – Manufacturers’ Accountability Project (MAP) Executive Director Lindsey de la Torre issued the following statement in response to the amicus brief filed in the U.S. Supreme Court by a coalition of national trade associations and legal reform organizations in ConAgra Grocery Products Company, et al. v. The People of the State of California. The lawsuit seeks to overturn a billion dollar judgment holding paint manufacturers liable for removing lead paint from private homes where it was lawfully sold and applied decades ago:

“The national implications of this lawsuit are underscored in the brief filed today by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) urging the U.S. Supreme Court to review this case and overturn a major, unsound departure in liability law. Manufacturers are standing up against this concerning trend of baseless lawsuits seeking to impose massive legal liability on manufacturers through the expansion of so-called “public nuisance” lawsuits.

“The stakes are high. If the Supreme Court does not provide a course correction, manufacturers will face even more lawsuits seeking massive and unprincipled liability. Already, this misuse of tort law has inspired several other public nuisance cases, putting manufacturing jobs at risk in order to line the pockets of trial lawyers.

“The Court should hear the case and help shut the door on this baseless litigation.  These types of lawsuits undermine the fairness of our nation’s legal system, our manufacturing base and our economy.”

MAP

The Manufacturers’ Accountability Project (MAP) will set the record straight and highlight the coordinated campaign by trial lawyers and public officials who have sought to undermine and weaken manufacturers in the United States. The MAP will hold key actors accountable in order to protect our members and American manufacturing workers. The MAP is a project of the NAM’s Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action (MCLA), which serves as the leading voice of manufacturers in the nation’s courts. Visit us at www.mfgaccountabilityproject.org.