HELPP AIMS TO STAMP OUT FRIVOLOUS LAWSUITS

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CHICAGO — Helpp Inc., an organization hoping to end what it considers frivolous lawsuits against corporations, is showing its stripes at NPE 1997.

About 45 exhibitors who are Helpp members plan to put stickers bearing the Helpp trademark on their booths. The display is the brainchild of Dewey Rainville, former owner of Universal Dynamics Inc., a plastics auxiliary equipment supplier.

Rainville said Helpp members believe companies should not be too quick to settle lawsuits out of court.

``We have to create an atmosphere where people are fighting,'' said Rainville, president and trustee of the North Plainfield, N.J., group.

At UniDyn, Rainville said he felt that he had settled out of court too many times.

Helpp plans to publish a newsletter three times a year with information and ratings of judges. It hopes that with this kind of information, companies will be better-prepared for battle.

``The lawyers have absolute power over us,'' said Rainville, who compared their dominance to Al Capone.

He believes that if the profit motive for lawyers can be removed, there will be fewer lawsuits.

Helpp, which has been in existence for 21/2 years, has yet to fight a case. The organization, which needs $1 million to start, has only $46,000. All its workers are volunteers.

Helpp stands for ``Help Elevate Legal Profession Priorities.'' The group has 140 member companies. Membership fees vary based on individual company sales.

Helpp insists that keeping good financial records is the key to saving money in lawsuits. Potential plaintiffs might reconsider a suit if they discover a potential target does not have deep pockets.

Helpp, which does not have any lawyers on staff now, said it might bring in some at its discretion.