The American Association of Justice just released its “Worst Corporate Conduct of 2018” report. Unfortunately, corporate America has a long history of deplorable conduct dating back to the golden age of railroads.
This year’s naughty list includes the following:
According to the AAJ report, “the U.S. is suffering from a student loan debt crisis that is so serious it threatens the entire economy. More than 44 million people owe a combined $1.5 trillion- more than the GDP of Russia. Eight million borrowers are in default, while 3 million more are behind on their payments. By 2023, 40 percent of all borrowers are predicted to be in default.”
The report continues “Navient is a for-profit corporation, formed in 2014 as a spin-off from Sallie Mae, and one of the three student loan lenders that dominate the market. In the four short years of its existence, Navient has managed to make itself the poster child for student loan abuses.”
2. BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Royal Dutch Shell
Statistics show that these corporations, the world’s five largest publicly traded oil companies are responsible for 11 percent of the world’s global warming gases. And worse, they have known about the impact they have on our environment since the 1980’s.
In lawsuits across the country, internal documentation has been uncovered showing how these companies intentionally either hid evidence or spent millions of dollars to create doubt about the science of global warming.
3. State Farm
As previously reported by Goode Law Office, this past September, State Farm agreed to pay $250 million to settle claims that it secretly attempted to hand pick preferred candidates on the Illinois Supreme Court, and then was caught lying about it so its hand picked justice could rule on a billion-dollar case against State Farm. Like a good neighbor? Not so much.
4. General Motors/Takata
The GM/Takata airbag debacle is well documented. According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, as of September 2018, almost 20 million recalled vehicles, which represents 7 percent of all vehicles in the US, are still on the road with one or more of Takata’s “ticking time bombs installed”.
Deaths and injuries continue to occur while GM, the world’s fourth largest car manufacturer in the world refuses to recall its vehicles.
According to the AAJ report, this biotech company “bragged it would revolutionize blood-testing, was considered one of the hottest start-ups in the world, valued at $9 billion and was ready to change the world.”
There was one small problem. It was all a lie. Theranos faked demonstrations, lied about its analyzers being used by the Defense Department over seas and lied to investors. According to the report, “Theranos was forced to shut down its centers after it failed inspections by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Years of blood test results were voided.”
This iconic company, the world’s largest food and beverage company, was exposed this year for rampant child slavery and forced-labor use in order to boost corporate profits. In October of this year, a Federal Appeals Court reinstated a lawsuit accusing the company alleging it perpetuated child slavery at cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast. The plaintiffs in the case were kidnapped from Mali as children and forced to work on Nestle owned plantations for as much as 14 hours per day without pay. So next time you crave a Butterfinger or Kit Kat, you may want to think twice.
7. USA Gymnastics/MSU
Perhaps more than any conduct on this list, the Larry Nassar sexual assault scandal not only exposed a doctor’s horrible conduct, but a vast network of institutions, companies, and individuals that allowed this conduct to continue for decades.
USA Gymnastics, which is heavily backed by corporate America, knew about the abuses many years before they came to light and according to the AAJ report, made attempts to silence the victims and their families.
Christopher W. Goode, is a national recognized trial attorney and founder of Goode Law Office PLC. While his practice is diverse, he is committed to only representing injured individuals from automobile collisions to nursing home neglect and abuse to product liability claims. He is a past president of the Fayette County Bar Association and is a frequent speaker on legal topics. Chris currently serves as a District Vice President for the Kentucky Justice Association. He can be reached at [email protected] or www.goodelawyers.com.