Closing the courthouse doors?

In another example of legal maneuvering, lawyers representing employers and other defendants in civil matters are seeking to change the rules of the game so that it is more difficult to have one’s day in court. These corporate agents want to change the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to restrict access to information, documents, and testimony – that is, to evidence – needed by plaintiffs to prove their claims in employment, civil rights, and consumer protection cases. In this context, it is important to remember that victims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, unpaid wages, contract violations, and consumer fraud have the burden of proving their employment, civil rights, and consumer protection claims. Without a fair chance to access the necessary evidence, then, many plaintiffs’ claims will fail even when the cases have merit.

Fortunately, the National Employment Lawyers Association, the American Association for Justice, and allied advocates are working hard to combat the cynical campaign to obstruct the effective prosecution of claims under employment law, civil rights law, and consumer protection law. It will take constant and unwavering vigilance, however, to ensure that plaintiffs have a reasonable ability to pursue their claims. Absent that, employment, civil rights, and consumer protection cases will be restricted to a few and short depositions of witnesses, limited requests for information and documents, and a disproportionate shift of discovery costs from defendants to plaintiffs. To add voice to the rising chorus against the naked power grab, contact attorneys that handle claims under employment, civil rights, and consumer protection statutes.