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Chamber Members Say Legal Reform Top Priority

Tuesday, February 1, 2005 - 7:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A United States Chamber of Commerce member survey showed significant support for legal reform initiatives, highlighting the business community's nearly unanimous commitment to a final legislative solution for class action abuses.

"The results show the gathering momentum behind legal reform," said Thomas Donohue, Chamber President and CEO. "The business community is solidly behind ending abusive class action lawsuits, overhauling product liability laws, and reining in punitive damage awards."

Eighty-seven percent of those surveyed identified stopping excessive punitive damages as an extremely high or very high priority. A slightly lower percent (84) said the same about class action reform. Support for overhauling product liability laws and allowing employers to recover attorneys' fees from the government when charges of violations are successfully challenged was also significant (83 percent).

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to mark up the Class Action Fairness Act this week. The bill would curb class action lawsuit abuse in state courts by stopping the rampant practice of venue shopping of large national class actions and allowing federal courts to hear more national class action lawsuits involving plaintiffs and defendants from multiple states.

The Chamber is urging lawmakers to vote against all amendments to S.5.

The U.S. Chamber biennial survey of its small- and mid-size business members identifies issues of concern to employers. Other pressing issues identified by the survey include permanent repeal of the death tax, pooling for health care access and regulatory reform.

"Government red tape inhibits business start ups, and excessive rules and regulations interfere with running a business, creating jobs and growing the economy," said Donohue.

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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