suzukiIncredibly, Consumers’ Union, publisher of Consumer Reports has been told it must go to trial after all to defend itself, and all of us, from Suzuki’s claim that CU’s 1996 ‘Not Acceptable’ safety rating of the Suzuki Samurai (because of high rollover risk), ‘disparaged’ the product. The case, which was originally thrown out for lack of evidence, was reinstated by a higher court, and recently the federal Court of Appeals refused, 13-11, to throw the case out. It now goes to the US Supreme Court for final assessment of whether it should be tried, and we all know how that bench is stacked. So expect an expensive court case pitting the $13B Suzuki and its controlling shareholder, the $186B GM, against the not-for-profit $165M CU. Here’s what the Court of Appeals’ dissenting opinion said about the decision:

If Suzuki can get to trial on evidence this flimsy, no consumer group in the country will be safe from assault by hordes of handsomely paid lawyers deploying scorched-earth litigation tactics. The ultimate losers will be American consumers denied access to independent information about the safety and usefulness of products they buy with their hard-earned dollars.

Stack this one on top of Nike’s lawsuit to protect its right to lie to consumers with impunity about its shoddy products and practices (Update: the US Supreme Court brushed off Nike’s dismissal request in June, calling it ‘premature’, but left no doubt it would decide in Nike’s favour should Nike lose at the lower court level). Big business already has the Bush administration in its back pocket, and both sides of both houses of Congress bowing to its every demand, and now it’s entrenching its hold over the judiciary branch. If Suzuki wins this, there is nowhere left to hide. Corporations will become the privileged, first-class citizens with all the power and resources, and ‘we the people’ will become second-class citizens without recourse, reduced, as the big corporations desire, to mere, and silent, consumers.

This entry was posted in How the World Really Works. Bookmark the permalink.