WASHINGTON, D.C.—Calling the next few years a transformational time that could define the future of our civil justice system, speakers at the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform’s (ILR) 10th Annual Legal Reform Summit urged U.S. decision makers to consider the costs of expanding liability for job creators during the economic recovery.
“When making any decision that impacts our civil justice system, our leaders should ask themselves one fundamental question: ‘Will this help put people back to work, or will this seed the ground for more job-killing litigation?’” said ILR President Lisa Rickard. “As elected officials, they are entrusted with pursuing policies that help revitalize the economy and bring back the jobs that have been shed across the country. The American people expect them to live up to this obligation.”
Citing the 63% of voters who support meaningful medical liability reform as part of the health care debate, the ILR Summit featured a panel exploring the relationship between lawsuits and rising health care costs. The panel was moderated by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who, during the luncheon keynote address, also spoke about the legal reforms enacted during his administration and their positive impacts on the state economy and health care system.
The Summit included a legislative keynote address by U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions, who provided insight into the activities of the Senate Judiciary Committee and his priorities as the committee’s Ranking Member.
Throughout the day, ILR unveiled a number of new research pieces to help influence the legal reform debate including:
- “Selling Lawsuits, Buying Trouble: The Emerging World of Third-Party Litigation Financing in the United States,” a paper outlining the problems associated with third-party litigation financing and calling for the outright prohibition of the system in the U.S. or, at the very least, a ban on third-party financing in aggregate litigation;
- “Promoting Merit in Merit Selection,” a ‘best practices’ guide to assist states in taking politics out of the merit selection process to seat supreme court justices;
- “101 Ways to Improve State Legal Systems,” a comprehensive compendium of legal reform options for implementation by state legislatures, which allows legal reform leaders to modify their approach based on the unique policy and political landscape of their state.
The Chamber honored those working to improve America’s litigation environment with the ILR Legal Reform Awards. The 2009 recipients included Sen. Sessions for legislative achievement, former Supreme Court of Arizona Chief Justice Ruth V. McGregor for judicial achievement, the State Chamber of Oklahoma for state leadership, and the Searle Civil Justice Institute at Northwestern University School of Law for outstanding research.
The U.S. Chamber is the world’s largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.