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News
May 24, 2006

U.S. Chamber: Contingency Fee Bill Will Cost Louisiana Jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Lisa Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, today released the following statement regarding legislation that would authorize the Louisiana Attorney General to enter into contingency fee contracts with outside counsel (S.B. 750/H.B. 1397):

“This law is not only unnecessary, but if enacted, will be at the expense of hard-working Louisianans.

“The attorney general is already authorized to hire outside counsel on an hourly fee schedule. The only group that stands to benefit from this legislation is plaintiffs. lawyers, who can reap much larger fees when paid on a contingency basis. Meanwhile, the citizens of the state foot the bill for the lawyers’ increased payout.

“What’s more, plaintiffs’ lawyers, seeing the bounty that can be collected from a lucrative contingency fee contract, will be lining up at the AG’s door to bring questionable lawsuits against the state’s employers. This lawsuit abuse creates a hostile legal climate that scares away would-be employers and drives existing businesses out of state, taking much-needed jobs and employee benefits with them.

“This contingency fee bill is nothing more than an end-run by the plaintiffs’ bar around a recently enacted federal law that requires most class action cases to be heard in federal court, rather than in the local jurisdictions where they have more influence.

“At a time when Louisianans are focused on moving forward, passage of this legislation would be a major setback. Simply put, this law is bad for workers, bad for employers and bad for Louisiana.”

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