Unnecessary Court Secrecy

This is the next of a series of columns on how the law can impact your life. Each month we will focus on various aspects of the law relating to personal injuries, those that happen both on-the-job and otherwise, including mishaps which occur in driving vehicles, using products and receiving medical care. The column will also respond to legal questions relating to personal injury that are sent to us.

Healy Scanlon Law Firm is comprised of eight trial attorneys, two of whom are from Ireland. We are located downtown at 111 West Washington Street, Suite 1425, Chicago, Illinois 60602 (312-226-4236).www.HealyLawFirm.com. The firm concentrates in the representation of injured victims of all types of accidents.

Readers are encouraged to call or write with questions concerning personal injury law.


Proponents of “Small Government” and “Free Markets” ignore the potentially deadly effects of allowing industry to ensure that their actions do not cause harm that tighter controls will prevent. Deregulation’s massively destructive effects can be seen in the daily headlines about the US financial situation. Unchecked and unregulated lending and investment practices allowed the US banking and investment industries to nearly collapse. The brunt of the damage was borne by the US taxpayer, not the banks that took risky and reckless actions leading to near meltdown.

Beyond financial harm, safety and environmental deregulation and lack of oversight pose grave risk often not seen or publicized.

Environmental Regulation

We often assume that federal and state environmental laws will prevent manufacturers and industry form discharging dangerous substances into the air, ground and water. However, widespread deregulation has resulted in nonexistent or lax oversight. The 2005 Bush Energy Bill passed with the help of $115,000,000 in campaign contributions and the backing of Vice President Dick Cheney, former Chairman of Halliburton.

Even though we have nearly constant and unlimited connection to information, we are kept in the dark about some of the most important issues affecting our families’ safety. Widespread deregulation and often lax, ignored or poorly enforced reporting requirements allow dangerous and deadly products and circumstances to remain unchecked.

Food Safety

Although it has gotten sporadic media attention, food safety is a cause for major concern. However, since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Department of Agriculture (USDA) are sparsely funded, actual food safety rules and inspection are largely the responsibility of the manufacturers. Some manufacturing facilities are inspected only once per year. Lack of regulatory oversight results in the current system, largely unchanged for decades that allows food manufacturers to choose their own safety auditors. The quality and thoroughness of these audits varies with price and manufacturers’ profit motivation versus safety motivation. Examples of the disastrous effects of ineffective inspection and unsafe practice are all to common: Summer, 2010, a massive 550 million egg recall was the result of unsanitary conditions and lax oversight at two major egg suppliers. Thousands were sickened by salmonella resulting from filthy conditions. The farm’s owners had paid over $2 million in fines in 1997. In 2006 E. Coli bacteria contamination in packaged spinach killed 4 and sickened hundreds. Ground beef recalls

Unnecessary Secrecy Causes Real Harm

David Huber