WASHINGTON, D.C.—Five state legislators from Wisconsin received the 2014 State Legislative Achievement Award at the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform’s (ILR) 15th Annual Legal Reform Summit today for their contributions to reforming their state’s civil justice system. The recipients include Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, Assistant Senate Majority Leader Glenn Grothman, Rep. Andre Jacque, Rep. Jim Ott, and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.
“These legislators demonstrated principled leadership and acted as architects of legal reform in Wisconsin,” said Lisa A. Rickard, president of ILR. “Due in large part to their efforts, the state spearheaded groundbreaking asbestos bankruptcy trust legislation that now serves as a model for other states to follow.”
In April, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a new law requiring greater transparency from tort plaintiffs who may also pursue claims with asbestos personal injury settlement trusts.
The trusts were set up to ensure that, even if companies went bankrupt, money would be available to pay asbestos victims. However, the trusts operate with little or no transparency, allowing plaintiffs to file lawsuits against solvent companies while “double-dipping” into the trusts. As a result, the trusts are being depleted faster than experts predicted, leaving less money for future victims. Wisconsin became the third state to recently enact asbestos trust transparency laws.
In recent years, Wisconsin has also enacted one of the nation’s strongest laws promoting transparency and limiting contingency fees when the state hires outside private plaintiffs’ lawyers, as well as a general package of legal reforms.
The Annual Legal Reform Awards honor individuals and organizations whose outstanding work has contributed to reforming America’s civil justice system.
ILR seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative, political, judicial, and educational activities at the national, state, and local levels.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.