Atlantic Legal Foundation

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ALF trumpets their "deep commitment to redressing the bias against business which manifests itself in favor of narrow 'consumer' or 'environmental' concerns" (ALF Annual Report, 1994). ALF also promotes "sound science" in the courtroom (ALF, "Our Philosophy," 2004).

The Foundatio has received funding from ASARCO, ARCO Chemical Co, Chevron, DuPont, Pfizer, and Texaco. Other funding sources include prominent conservative philanthropic foundations, including the Sarah Scaife, Claude Lambe, John Olin, Castle Rock (Coors) and the Philip McKenna Foundations.[1]

Helping corporations to ignore health and safety legislation

ALF does not appear to initiate lawsuits, but files numerous amicus briefs on issues including charter schools, affirmative action, and the use of scientific testimony in court. It is the latter issue that seems to occupy the most of ALF's recent efforts.
ALF has a science advisory board with 18 members, including 6 Nobel Laureates, most famous among them James Watson, the co-discoverer of DNA. Through its briefs, ALF succeeded in establishing (e.g. they have been cited in Supreme Court rulings) that a high standard should apply to the use of scientific experts. In three different Supreme Court cases (Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Joiner v. General Electric, and Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael) ALF convinced the high court that the judiciary should use high standards in determining which scientific evidence is admissible, succeeding in having plaintiff's scientific experts deemed unsuitable, and aided in the determination that trial judges should serve as "gatekeepers" for all experts, not merely scientific ones to ensure only relevant and reliable testimony.
The consequence of such rulings is that plaintiffs litigating against pharmaceutical companies, medical providers, or other corporate concerns will have a more difficult time establishing the scientific basis of their claims. Corporations which finance scientific experts, and the scientists who in many cases are implicated in these cases, would be unopposed in their "expert" claims in the courtroom. Having established this precedent on the federal level, Atlantic Legal Foundation is looking to further expand it at the state levels, where the majority of tort claims are pursued. The logical conclusion of such precedents would be a vast reduction in the size and frequency of judgments against corporations, thus making it profitable for them to disregard health and safety laws.[2]


Board of Directors

Atlantic Legal Officers

Advisory Council


^ Exxon Secrets profile of the Atlantic Legal Foundation