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News
May 7, 2002

Chamber Urges Mississippians To Reform Flawed Legal System

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Chamber of Commerce today urged the people of Mississippi to do everything they can to change the state’s deeply flawed legal system that targets out-of-state businesses with frivolous lawsuits and outrageous verdicts. The Chamber also shared its concerns about the significant risks its members and all companies face when doing business in Mississippi.

“Businesses are being unjustly and unfairly targeted by a legal system that is gravely tilted toward the interests of plaintiffs’ lawyers,” said Tom Donohue, Chamber President and CEO. “If Mississippi wants to attract more business, then Mississippians need to push for common-sense legal reforms now.”

Mississippi’s legal system ranked at the bottom of a recent Harris Interactive poll of more than 800 general counsels. The state’s legal practices deviate so far from normal practices that they deny the constitutional rights of due process to defendant companies, according to a legal analysis by the Washington, D.C., law firm of Wiley, Rein & Fielding.

An economic study by The Perryman Group shows the adverse impact of Mississippi’s legal system on the state, including the finding that failure to implement legal reform measures cost the legal system an additional $193 million per year.

“Mississippians are losing more than 7,500 jobs a year, and the average Mississippi family pays an additional $264 a year as a direct result of the state s love affair with lawsuits,” said James M. Wootton, president of the Chamber Institute for Legal Reform. “While our goal is to give businesses the facts they need to make sound decisions, Mississippi citizens need to be reminded about the heavy toll their state’s unfair legal system imposes on them.”

During a press briefing today at its Washington headquarters, the Chamber unveiled a print advertisement that will carry its message to the people of Mississippi.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation, representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region. The mission of the Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform is to make America’s legal system simpler, fairer and faster.

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