From the looks of it, Casita Mexicana chefs Jaime Martin Del Campo and Ramiro Arvizu really did thwart a fraudulent lawsuit when a disabled man who had never visited the restaurant tried to sue them for having an inadequate bathroom. It looks like we aren’t the only ones who noticed their recent victory over the greedy forces of evil, as now the two chefs are being used very publicly in an advertising campaign endorsing tort reform, the movement that seeks to limit how much a plaintiff can receive in damages when suing a company.
While cruising the internet for forgotten Tony Touch mixtapes last night, we landed on a site called "Faces of Lawsuit Abuse," lured by a sidebar featuring the two bald, goateed chefs from Bell. The site prominently features del Campo and Arvizu looking tough as nails at the top of the page, relating the struggles of an independent business with a quote: "It’s very difficult to start a business. With things like lawsuits, it’s stopping everything from growing."
While we certainly support these talented chefs and applaud their victory over those abusing our legal system, anyone who has seen the documentary Hot Coffee knows that tort reform is generally not a sacred mission taken up by small businesses like Casita Mexicana, but of major corporations and their well-funded lobbyists.
Faces of Lawsuit Abuse turns out to be a project from The U.S. Institute for Legal Reform, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce-funded group that aggressively lobbies to remove an individual’s right to damages when a company or corporation hurts them. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce itself is a right-leaning lobbying group (one of the country’s biggest) that represents U.S. business, trade, and industry interests, launched by President Taft in an effort to counter the growing power of the U.S. labor movement.
It is also the biggest lobbying group in the country, having spent $46,240,000 in 2011 alone on lobbying efforts, according to OpenSecrets. Extending those Bush tax cuts most of us wanted dead? That was the Chamber’s work. They are not, despite the company they may keep in Bell, the little guys fighting against injustice.
Over the years, tort reform groups like Faces of Lawsuit Abuse have pushed heavily to convince our citizens that a majority of the lawsuits filed against corporations are fraudulent or silly by citing some of the craziest existing examples and pretending they are the norm. The rough idea is that, if a corporation ruins your life, there should be a limit on how much that company is responsible for paying you, no matter the expenses or damage in quality of life you may have incurred in the short and long term.
In any case, images of our two beloved Bell chefs are being blasted around the internet now, as Del Campo and Arvizu are apparently being used as the new faces of tort reform in advertisements. They even shot a quick, slick video for the site, as you can see below.