One of the most effective ways to get the word out about the need for legal reform is getting a letter to the editor calling for reform published in your local paper.
The guidelines for letters to the editor vary from paper to paper, but generally:
- They are short. Typically 300 words or less.
- They are signed by the author. Papers don’t publish anonymous letters.
- They do three things: tell a personal antidote, make a point, and call for change.
Here are some points to consider if you want to draft a letter about New Jersey’s out-of-control Consumer Fraud Act:
- A single lawsuit can bankrupt a small business.
- Honest businesses are being dragged into court.
- Small contractors are getting sued over their paperwork rather than their actual work.
- NJ is a hotbed of food label litigation. All-natural. Just Mayo. Greek yogurt. Subway footlongs.
- In at least one case, the consumer hired the lawyer and then went out and bought the product the suit concerned.
- Where is the fraud? – Consumer Fraud Act (CFA) lawsuits can be filed even if the work was perfect – one tiny, insignificant mistake in a contract can be the basis for a lawsuit
- Truly bad actors are punished by the state. Example: Post-Sandy scammers
- If the consumer wins a CFA lawsuit they get 3 times the value of the lawsuit plus attorney fees from the business. If the business wins they get nothing.
- A litigation windfall to one consumer raises the prices charged to all consumers.
If you would like some help drafting a letter to the editor, please reach out to Emily Kelchen, NJCJI’s Director of Public Affairs!