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February 9, 2016

U.S. Chamber Applauds West Virginia Legislature for Passing Attorney General Sunshine Bill, Urges Governor to Sign

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Lisa A. Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), made the following statement today applauding the West Virginia legislature for passing an attorney general sunshine bill (HB 4007) and urging Governor Earl Ray Tomblin to sign it into law. The bill promotes transparency and limits contingency fees when the Attorney General of West Virginia hires outside private plaintiffs’ lawyers.

“We commend the West Virginia legislature for acting to reform 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.

“West Virginia can join 13 states, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Utah, and Wisconsin that have recently taken action to limit outside contingency fee counsel arrangements by state attorneys general.

“We commend House Judiciary Chair John Shott, Senate Judiciary Chair Charlie Trump, and Delegate Matthew Rohrbach for their tireless leadership on this issue, and thank Attorney General Patrick Morrissey for his support of the legislation and thoughtful input in the process. We urge Governor Tomblin to swiftly sign this bill into law.”

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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