WASHINGTON, D.C.—The United States Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) today released a poll showing that an overwhelming percentage of West Virginians want their elected officials to pass comprehensive legislation to curb frivolous lawsuits, stimulate economic development, and create jobs.
According to the statewide public opinion poll, 78 percent of West Virginians say that the number of lawsuits in state courts is a serious problem, and 71 percent believe that West Virginia’s lawsuit system is in need of “significant change.” In addition, 74 percent say that lawyers benefit most from the current legal system.
A majority of those surveyed want the governor and the Legislature to do more to free the courts from unwarranted litigation. Seventy five percent of those polled support legislation that would prohibit the current practice of forcing “deep pocket” companies to pay more than their fair share, according to the Chamber.
The poll also found that 45 percent of voters think the state is currently headed in the right direction, while 42 percent say it is on the wrong track. This is an improvement over an October 2004 poll where 30 percent said it was on the right track and 58 percent, on the wrong track.
The poll involved 400 registered voters and was conducted by telephone March 1–2 by Public Opinion Strategies.
Last week, ILR released the results of its 2005 State Liability Systems Ranking Study, indicating that West Virginia ranked 49 among the 50 states in legal fairness for the fourth year in a row. That survey of more than 1,400 senior corporate attorneys was released at a press conference in Charleston on March 8.
The mission of ILR 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.