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News
April 28, 2005

Chamber Welcomes Legal Reforms in West Virginia

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) today applauded the West Virginia legislature and Governor Joe Manchin for enacting legal reform legislation that is a critical first step toward restoring balance to the state’s unfair legal system.

“We congratulate the legislature and Governor Manchin for seeing these important incremental reforms through,” said Lisa Rickard, ILR president. “However, more reforms – including additional joint and several liability reforms – are needed to fix the abusive legal climate in West Virginia.”

Signed today was SB 418, a bill aimed at reducing lawsuit abuse by reforming the state’s third party bad faith laws. West Virginia is one of only a handful of states whose law allows third parties to sue insurers for acting in alleged “bad faith.” Also signed by the Governor today was SB 421, which will begin to address the practice of targeting “deep pocket” defendants according to their ability to pay, rather than their degree of fault.

“We look forward to working with Governor Manchin and the legislature next year to pass additional legal reforms that will finish the job and help make West Virginia truly open for business,” concluded Rickard.

West Virginia has ranked 49 among the 50 states in legal fairness four years in a row, according to an ILR/Harris Interactive survey. It has become a haven for unscrupulous trial lawyers who clog the courts with frivolous lawsuits primarily for their own financial gain.

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

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