Alliance Lauds W. Virginia Legislature for Action on Mass Tort Reform

March 11, 2003

The Alliance of American Insurers praised the West Virginia Legislature for its passage of SB 213, a venue reform bill that limits the ability of non-residents to bring suit in the state.

“The lawmakers of West Virginia have wisely chosen to limit venue-shopping by plaintiffs lawyers looking for a big payoff in a class action or asbestos-type lawsuit,” stated John Lobert, VP of state government affairs for the Alliance.

“The bill, sponsored by the state Chamber of Commerce and actively supported by the Alliance and its members, was promoted in response to the reputation West Virginia has acquired as a magnet jurisdiction for mass tort cases. These cases often resulted in defendants capitulating and settling because of the overwhelming financial burden of defending them,” Lopert continued.

“While this bill will not correct the problem of overly-generous jury awards, it will do a great deal to close one of the main loopholes that has allowed lawyers to come to West Virginia in search of easy money and a quick settlement.”

The Alliance noted that “The bill had tremendous support in both houses of the legislature and was quickly passed. It now goes to Gov. Bob Wise (D) for his signature. The Alliance urges the governor to sign the bill, which will be effective 90 days after it is signed.”

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