The opponent describes itself as a non-profit educational and communications organization dedicated to improving public understanding of the property and casualty insurance business and to providing information about issues of relevance to the insurance business.
The complainants consist of State Public Interest Research Group and three (3) individuals. As alleged in their amended complaint, the Research Group is a not-for-profit membership corporation whose members include approximately 30,000 citizens in communities throughout the State besides the 150,000 student members. The Research Group, in furtherance of its broad concern for the public welfare, among other things, investigates and, as appropriate, addresses problems of common concern before the judicial, legislative and executive branches of our State Government. In particular, the Research Group conducts research and makes recommendations concerning the interests of the public and of the members of the Group in insurance-related issues and in the proposed changes in the civil justice system advocated by the insurance industry.
In their complaint, the complainants plead three (3) causes of action relating to multimedia advertising campaign, which refers to as the Lawsuit Crisis. The magazine and newspaper ads, and the television spots all assert that the quality of every American’s life is threatened by the existence of a Lawsuit Crisis; that is, that huge numbers of people are suing doctors, pharmaceutical companies, municipalities, etc., for personal injuriesdue to medical malpractice, negligence, etc., that the personal injury complainants are receiving huge jury awards, that, because of the awards, which are paid, in the final analysis by insurance companies, the insurance companies must raise their premiums for liability insurance, or deny coverage. The crisis, in turn, according to the ads, causes, among other things, obstetricians to cease delivering babies, pharmaceutical companies to discontinue manufacturing life-saving drugs (e.g., polio vaccine), and municipalities to close down playgrounds, firehouses, afterschool programs, etc.