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January 3, 2005

U.S. Chamber Applauds Majority Leader Frist for Commitment to Moving Class Action Reform Next Month

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) applauded Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) for his inaugural address to the 109th Congress today, in which he designated legal reform a key plank in his legislative agenda.

“We are pleased by Senator Frist’s announcement that he intends to bring the Class Action Fairness Act to the Senate floor in early February,” said Stanton D. Anderson, executive vice president and chief legal officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “We are also heartened by his public support for asbestos litigation and medical liability reforms.”

America’s litigation system is the world’s most expensive, draining more than $233 billion from the U.S. economy, and costing the average American family of four more than $3,200 a year in higher prices, higher insurance rates and higher health care costs. The system is costing small businesses $88 billion every year, according to a recent NERA Economic Consulting study conducted for ILR.

During the past decade alone, class action lawsuit filings rose more than 300 percent in federal courts and more than 1,000 percent in state courts. Furthermore, rampant asbestos litigation has driven more than 70 companies into bankruptcy, costing as many as 60,000 Americans their jobs.

“Now is the time for Congress to pass legal reform legislation that will bring balance to America’s legal system by ending the lawsuit abuse that cripples our employers and hits the pocketbooks of America’s working families,” added Anderson.

The mission of the Institute for Legal Reform is to make America’s legal system simpler, fairer and faster for everyone. It 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 more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.

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