See the picture to the right? That WAS a $181,000 forty foot long Monaco Coach RV recreation vehicle…until it’s tire came apart. The driver was paralyzed, his wife and his daughter-in-law suffered broken backs; his son, a broken hip.
How did this happen? Goodyear Tire manufactured a tire,the G159, for local delivery vehicles (post office, Fedex). It was designed to be driven below 65 miles an hour. However, Goodyear made at least 40,000 of them and needed to sell them. So, it sold them to RV dealerships without warning those dealerships. These RV dealerships then wrongly installed on motor homes and recreational vehicles. How long did this predictable death sales activity occur? Unbelievably, it was from 1996 to 2003.
Most if not all large companies who make products and hurt people make the people who they’ve injured keep quiet about the injuries they have received with non-disclosure agreements. They cover their tracks with these insidious forced agreements.
In an article about the “worst tire in history,” an automobile writer researched and outlines the sales of these unsafe tires by Goodyear to the general public without any warning whatsoever about the speed limitation. Lawsuits and claims against this large corporation never seem to make it out to the press, the internet or even the general public. Specifically, these claims never made it to the Federal Trade Commission and consumers like you. The Department of Transportation, which assures the safety of vehicles traveling on the road and the tires on those vehicles, makes every tire sold the United States have on the side wall safety information. The safety laws, like those two agencies, DOT and FTC, protect us from greedy corporations. In this instance, as claims were made against Goodyear, or lawsuits filed, every family behind those lawsuits was prevented from talking about the devastation caused by Goodyear’s greed.
What? How?! What about the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution? Freedom of speech under the U.S. Constitution? Now it’s time to get angry: these companies, Goodyear included, silence the people who bring these claims by forcing them to sign “nondisclosure” agreements or sign releases in which the injured families agree to not speak about the defective product. If they don’t sign, no payment from the corporation. Keep in mind, the injuries these families have suffered usually involve a critical member of the family, usually the breadwinner. If they don’t get this money to rebuild their lives, it’s devastating to the survivors. The terms of these agreements are very hard: if anybody talks about the defective product which injured their family member, they pay all the settlement money back. Harsh? It is, but not for the reasons you think.
The reason it is harsh is because rather than recalling the defective product, the manufacturer gets to keep making money off this defective product until the next lawsuit. It’s also a horror to the next family who suffers a devastating death or incapacitating injury because of a product the manufacturer knew should have been taken off the market. When a family hires a trial lawyer (like me), that lawyer doesn’t know of the previous claim or lawsuit, so he/she can’t use the information from the previous lawsuit because she or he has no idea it exists because of the nondisclosure agreement. The successive trial lawyers have to reinvent the wheel and fight the same fight previous lawyer did.
How is this possible? Non-disclosure agreements. How did Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby get to molest, batter and rape those young actresses? Non-disclosure agreements. How do companies get away with abusing employees, wage and hour violations, Equal Opportunity Employment violations and sexual harassment? Nondisclosure agreements. How do gas fracking companies get to poison all those families in Oklahoma, Texas, Pennsylvania and Appalachia and you never hear about it? Non-disclosure agreements. As a retired Federal judge put his view of non-disclosure agreement: “Secret settlements may protect the innocent, but I suspect they serve much more often to protect the guilty.”
Lawyers should not allow terms of settlement agreements to hide defective products companies have put in the market. It happens all the time.
That’s not all a corporation is hiding. Once, I sued a large corporate defendant which operated a fleet of delivery vehicles. In a trial, I want to show the reason why my client was injured by the corporations driver is: 1. he was a crappy driver, but the Corporation hired him anyway. After it hired the bad driver, it didn’t bother teaching him how to drive better. One of the things that we trial lawyers find out when helping insured people is these big corporations is they don’t often pay the money to 1. Hire good employees that can drive well (based on the driver’s bad record) or 2. Once an employ is hired, they don’t train them properly. That’s why that corporation wanted a non-disclosure agreement. I said no.
Why? Read this phrase and see if it sounds familiar: “Profits over people.” Since the 1980, there have been corporate changes made to the way corporations are run. Rather than concentrating on making good products or fairly priced services, providing good jobs for its employees and being good citizens in the community, corporations focus on paying as much money to the investors as possible. This means, maximizing profit at the expense of people, communities, stability. In other words: “Profits over People.”
Some psychologist and researchers have likened the behavior of corporations to psychopaths. Their research conclusions are frightening. Psychotherapists and psychologist use a text is printed by bodies of psychologists and psychotherapists affiliated with the American psychological Association. It is use by psychology experts both in and out State and Federal courts all over the United States. It’s called the Diagnostics and Statistics Manual (DSM). In its fifth edition, you can find the definition of a the characteristics psychology professionals us to diagnose a psychopath. Applied to the modern United States (and multinational) Corporation, the definition of psychopath fits corporations perfectly. It is chilling. There is a deadly accurate movie called The Corporation. that has been out for a few years. It is a call to action about the danger posed by corporations and the damage they do and hide with non-disclosure agreements. It outlines an societal indictment of U. S. Corporations now uncontrolled by even our government since Ronald Reagan’s administration change in the rules of how corporations are run.
The main way big corporations hide this immoral “profit over people” attitude of their management is “nondisclosure” agreements. NDAs, are similar to agreements between businesses when they are conspiring during a commercial activity. They are also similar to arbitration clauses. arbitration clauses are without a doubt, the most nefarious, evil, cynical, underhanded, dishonest and unscrupulous way that corporations cheat legitimate claims against them by regular people who have been injured by those corporations and their employees. They have no place in the consumer transactions and should be banned. yet, they are in almost every large settlement with a corporation.
My office confirmations of any agreements to resolve lawsuits includes the following language:
“My clients cannot sign any document which, if it were a public document, would be a violation of the Florida Sunshine in Government Law. Releases, the amounts of release, terms of settlement agreements are not trade secrets, proprietary, copyrighted, privileged, or any of the status of similar information which your company is entitled to have excluded from the public record. My office and my client will not agree to such unjustifiable limitations on freedom of speech.”
If your lawyer didn’t protect your rights to free speech, you need another lawyer.
Stop clicking now if you are injured and searching for an attorney.
I am a full-service personalized, personal injury lawyer with a statewide practice in all 67 counties. I have 31 years of experience to put to work for you. Call me so I can help solve your problems: 1-800 – 535 – 3002. Email: JSteele@JSteelelaw.com Skype: ScienceCan Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JSteeleLaw/ Twitter: @JSteeleOlmstead or @FlaBicyleLawyr Whatsapp: J. Steele Olmstead Instagram: jsteeleolmstead.
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