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News
April 9, 2005

U.S. Chamber: West Virginia Legal Reform Legislation Step in Right Direction

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) today congratulated the West Virginia legislature and Governor Joe Manchin for passing a legal reform bill that is an important step in restoring balance to the state’s unfair legal system.

The West Virginia legislature passed SB 418, a bill that would reduce lawsuit abuse by reforming the state’s third party bad faith laws. West Virginia is one of only a handful of states whose law allows third parties to sue insurers for acting in alleged “bad faith.”

“We congratulate the Governor and legislature for passing this important incremental reform,” said Lisa Rickard, ILR president. “However, more reforms – including meaningful joint & several liability reform – are needed to truly make West Virginia an attractive place to do business.”

Changes to the state’s joint and several liability laws would eliminate the practice of targeting “deep pocket” defendants according to their ability to pay, rather than their degree of fault.

“We look forward to working with Governor Manchin and the legislature next year to pass additional legal reforms that will finish the job and help make West Virginia open for business,” concluded Rickard.

West Virginia has been ranked 49 among the 50 states in legal fairness four years in a row. It has become a haven for unscrupulous trial lawyers who clog the courts with frivolous lawsuits primarily for their own financial gain.

The mission of the Institute for Legal Reform is to make America’s legal system simpler, fairer and faster for everyone. 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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