Pandemic for Profit
As the U.S. continues to deal with the widespread effects of COVID-19, it’s clear no industry is immune to the pandemic’s wrath—including law firms. But do all of these law firms really need to dig into the government wallet?
Some of the largest personal injury firms in the nation (many of which call Texas home) received loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The program is intended to help small businesses keep their workforces employed during the pandemic, primarily by covering the cost of payroll.
Several plaintiff law firms took PPP loans—which required them to certify that the loans were necessary to preserve their ongoing operations—while simultaneously making political contributions to at least one political action committee.
Further, it’s curious that many of these firms have run—and in some cases, continue to run—TV ads touting multi-million-dollar lawsuit awards and settlements, even as they claim to need a taxpayer-funded bailout to keep staff employed.
These personal injury law firms cumulatively received millions of dollars from the PPP at a time when many small businesses could not access the funds. To add insult to injury to job creators struggling to keep their doors open, some personal injury firms have begun exploring opportunities to file COVID-related lawsuits against a variety of businesses.
As TLR General Counsel Lee Parsley recently noted, the last thing employers need right now is to deal with a costly and time consuming lawsuit, especially if it has been fueled by a taxpayer-funded loan. The majority of businesses are doing their best to serve their communities, adhere to public health standards for their employees and customers and protect jobs.
Although there is much we still don’t know about how the coming months will shake out, one thing is clear: recovering from this pandemic will require us to do everything we can to support job creation and strengthen our economy. That includes shutting down opportunistic personal injury trial lawyers who attempt to use the pandemic for profit.