U.S. Chamber of Commerce No “Friend of the Court”

Nice to see someone calling out the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which frequently inserts itself into national litigation as a “friend of the court.”

In reality, the Chamber is almost always an advocate for a dues paying corporate member and espouses a position that is anti-employee and anti-consumer. In 2014, I argued the Chamber was a federal court lobbyist.

According to Reuters, the firm of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein has opposed  the Chamber’s request to file an amicus or “friend of the court” brief in a case involving a challenge by Direct TV to the certification of a class action by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.  Lieff’s brief argues the Chamber, the Chamber’s lawyers, DirectTV and Direct TV’s lawyers are bound so closely together that even under a liberal reading of the definition of an amicus curiae, the Chamber cannot legitimately be regarded as a friend of the court.

“The Chamber is not merely a friend of the party, but essentially the party itself.” – Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein

The Chamber has lobbied for years behind the scenes to limit workers’ rights.

The Chamber played a role in a decision earlier this year by the 11th Circuit to limit the scope of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.  The 11th Circuit ruled the ADEA does not prevent employers from adopting policies that discriminate against older workers in hiring. The Chamber argued that systemic age discrimination in hiring represents sound policy and is reasonable.

The Chamber taunted the EEOC, noting the EEOC operates a hiring program that discriminates on the basis of age.

In February,another law firm attempted to block a Chamber amicus brief backing Johnson & Johnson in a 5th Circuit appeal of a hip implant jury verdict. The 5th Circuit allowed the brief to be filed.

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