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May 13, 2015

U.S. Chamber Applauds Signing of Ohio Outside Counsel Sunshine Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Lisa A. Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), issued the following statement today applauding Governor John Kasich for signing the outside counsel sunshine bill (SB 38) into law. The law promotes transparency and limits contingency fees when the State of Ohio hires outside private plaintiffs’ lawyers.

“Governor Kasich and the legislature should be commended for reforming the practice of awarding contingency fee contracts to outside plaintiffs’ lawyers. Such schemes enrich lawyers at the expense of taxpayers and raise concerns about ‘pay-to-play,’ conflicts of interest, the use of a public entity for personal gain, and fairness in prosecutions.

“Ohio joins 11 states including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin that have limited outside contingency fee counsel arrangements by state attorneys general.

“Ohio’s strong reforms include a prohibition on the use of civil penalties or fines to calculate contingency fee awards and an overall cap on the total amount of money that outside lawyers can collect.

“We applaud Senator Bill Seitz and Representative Jim Butler for their tireless leadership on this issue, as well as the Ohio Alliance for Civil Justice, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, and the National Federation of Independent Business for their important work. We also thank Attorney General Mike DeWine for his thoughtful input throughout the process.”

ILR seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative, political, judicial, and educational activities at the global, 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.

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