As has been well documented, Pennsylvania has become ground zero for a rise in anti-union lawsuits from The Fairness Center and the Liberty Justice Center attempting to exploit the Janus V. AFSCME decision. Using scam tactics like sending phishing letters out to members of public sector unions that look like legal collection notices, these billionaire-funded front groups have filed dozens of lawsuits in Pennsylvania.
A number of rulings have been delivered over the last few months exposing these lawsuits for what they are; a bad faith defense by billionaire-funded organizations with money to burn. Mark Janus, the face of the Janus V. AFSCME case, was handed down a recent judgment in a different lawsuit from an Illinois Court of Appeals that said: “Mr. Janus has received all he is entitled to.” These lawsuits are failing in courts across the country.
This includes Pennsylvania as prominent labor attorney Jessica Saggiano wrote for a legal publication. If the lawsuits in Pennsylvania and beyond continue failing and workers remain on they’re winning streak, why exactly are The Fairness Center and Liberty Justice Center continuing these frivolous lawsuits? As President Steve Catanese of SEIU 668 recently noted, “For them, they’re just playing with billionaires’ money.”
That’s exactly what’s happening. Another individual filing lawsuits against union members by the name of Jonathan Mitchell is backed by a shady LLC called Juris Capital LLC. Mitchell, like David Osbourne from The Fairness Center, was a Donald Trump appointee although his nomination ultimately failed. Juris Capital LLC is betting that these lawsuits will make them money so they are bankrolling the cost of them upfront. It is unclear who funds Juris Capital LLC. The Intercept covered how this set up works. We are potentially closer to understanding the extent of funding some of these shadowy groups have, however.
Not only are the lawsuits bankrolled by the Liberty Justice Center failing, they are also beginning to backfire against their donors. In Montana, the Liberty Justice Center is involved in a lawsuit that may force their corporate client to disclose who their funders are because of their involvement in a political campaign. Hiding behind their non-profit status of one arm and campaigning from another arm is a common practice for these organizations.