A first-of-its-kind national media campaign designed to raise awareness of how lawsuit abuse affects Latino-owned businesses was unveiled today by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR).

The Latino Faces of Lawsuit Abuse campaign, an offshoot of ILR’s successful four-year-old Faces of Lawsuit Abuse effort, features two new video profiles of California Latino business owners whose businesses were victims of abusive litigation.

The new campaign is aimed at raising awareness of the problem of lawsuit abuse among the Spanish-speaking communities of the United States. A month-long national media campaign will feature national television, radio, and online advertising in both English and Spanish, with an extensive advertising buy in Spanish language media. ILR has also created a Spanish language version of the original Faces web site, which can be accessed at www.abusosdedemandas.org.

“Small business owners across the country are forced to contend with abusive lawsuits,” said Lisa A. Rickard, President of ILR. “But in the Latino community, the lawsuit problem is especially harmful.” This is evidenced by U.S. Census figures that show Latino Americans are creating small businesses at a rate three times higher than the rate for the non-Latino population. According to a 2010 study commissioned by ILR, lawsuits cost U.S. small businesses over $100 billion in 2008.

  • The first video (English version, Spanish version) features Jaime del Campo and Ramiro Arvizu, the owners of La Casita Mexicana, a small restaurant in Bell, California. Their business was one of a dozen in their neighborhood targeted by a serial plaintiff who has filed more than 500 lawsuits – many against small Latino-owned businesses.
  • The second video (English version, Spanish version) highlights Roberto Guerrero’s story. The owner of Cumaica Coffee in San Francisco was also sued by a serial plaintiff. Several neighboring businesses were sued by the same plaintiff, and at least two were forced to close. In the video, Roberto discusses the often frivolous nature of these lawsuits and the economic and emotional harm they cause to small businesses and neighborhoods.

These new videos join the 22 existing videos on ILR’s Faces of Lawsuit Abuse website. Started in 2007, the Faces of Lawsuit Abuse program features stories of individuals, small businesses and communities impacted by lawsuit abuse. They can be viewed at www.facesoflawsuitabuse.org.

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