WVCALA: Survey Reveals Legal Reforms Bring Fairness, Improve West Virginia’s Lawsuit Climate

Charleston, W.Va. – The legal reforms that were recently enacted in West Virginia have improved West Virginia’s lawsuit climate according to a survey released today by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform according to legal reform watchdog group West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WV CALA).

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) released a new national survey today that shows West Virginia’s lawsuit climate ranking improved by five places in 2017, from 50th to 45th. West Virginia has ranked last or near last each year of the last decade of the survey.

“Governor Justice, Senate President Carmichael, and House Speaker Armstead continue to focus on making our state more attractive to job creators and making it easier for our existing small businesses to grow and hire more West Virginians. They deserve credit for their focus on much-needed lawsuit reforms. These reforms mean more jobs, lower costs, and more opportunities for our state,” said Roman Stauffer, Executive Director of WV CALA.

Harris Poll, a global polling firm, conducted the 2017 Lawsuit Climate Survey on behalf of the ILR through more than 1,300 telephone and online interviews between March 31 and June 26, 2017. Participants were senior decision makers at businesses across the country. The survey asked participants to rank the fairness of state lawsuit environments across ten categories including their laws, courts, judges, and juries.

Since 2015, the West Virginia Legislature has enacted significant legal reforms, including implementing comparative fault, bringing transparency to the process of filing claims with asbestos trusts, protecting pharmacies and nursing homes from meritless lawsuits, capping punitive damages, and protecting innocent sellers of goods. These reforms have improved West Virginia’s legal rankings, including the state no longer being considered a “Judicial Hellhole” by the American Tort Reform Foundation.

“The legal reforms our state has enacted has brought West Virginia in line with a majority of states across the country. They have helped improve our legal system by bringing fairness and balance and protecting access to our legal system for those with legitimate lawsuit claims. West Virginia is no longer for sale. The good old days of millionaire personal injury lawyers playing the lawsuit lottery in hopes of a million dollar jackpot justice award are coming to an end,” concluded Stauffer.