Letter in Support of the Congressional Civil Justice Caucus

Wednesday, February 9, 2011 - 7:00pm

The Honorable Bob Goodlatte
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Dan Boren
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representatives Goodlatte and Boren:

I am writing on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) to commend you for creating the new Congressional Civil Justice Caucus. The Chamber is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region. ILR is an affiliate of the Chamber dedicated to making our nation’s overall civil legal system simpler, fairer and faster for all participants.

As both of you are aware, the U.S. civil justice system is in a state of crisis and acutely out of balance. The problems associated with abusive litigation are a drag on the U.S. economic recovery and harm not only small and large businesses but the average taxpayer as well. According to the respected actuarial firm of Towers Watson, the costs associated with our tort system alone were $248.1 billion in 2009, which translates into a cost of $808 per person. The system encourages gamesmanship, is incredibly inefficient and often results in inadequate compensation to those truly injured due to the transaction costs associated with litigation. For larger businesses, it is now increasingly common for billions of dollars to be at stake in a single case. For small businesses, many are only one lawsuit away from shutting their doors.

The bipartisan Congressional Civil Justice Caucus will provide a very important venue for members of the House of Representatives to discuss and explore ways in which the civil justice system can be reformed and improved. We look forward to working with you and the other members of this exciting new organization as it focuses a bipartisan spotlight on the need to promote and advance a civil justice system that respects the rule of law and increases the United States’ global competitiveness.

The Congressional Civil Justice Caucus will be a welcome new voice on Capitol Hill. Again, thank you for your strong leadership on this issue. We look forward to working with you and the other members of the caucus to improve America’s civil justice system.

Lisa A. Rickard