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December 14, 2004

U.S. Chamber Applauds President Bush for Renewed Commitment to Ending Lawsuit Abuse

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) today applauded President George W. Bush, who has made reform of America’s civil justice system a centerpiece of this week’s White House Economic Summit.

“We are gratified that President Bush is making clear his commitment to meaningful legal reform,” said Lisa Rickard, president of ILR. “Some of the more important reforms to be considered by the coming Congress include the Class Action Fairness Act, a consensus asbestos litigation reform bill, and medical liability reform.”

Rampant asbestos litigation has driven almost 70 companies into bankruptcy, costing as many as 60,000 Americans their jobs, according to ILR. Furthermore, 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.

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 bilking small businesses of an astounding $88 billion a year, according to a recent NERA Economic Consulting study conducted for the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR).

“The President’s continued leadership is needed to pass these much-needed reforms,” continued Rickard. “Now is the time for Congress to act to 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.”

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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