Pennsylvania Employers, Residents Want Lawsuit Abuse Reform

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, UNITED STATES

HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 30, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Pennsylvanians' desire for state lawmakers to enact commonsense lawsuit abuse reform is evident in numerous public opinion polls on the issue.

"Residents and businesses alike recognize the negative implications of an unbalanced and unpredictable legal system," said Gene Barr, vice president of government and public affairs for the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry. "Fear of litigation stifles product development and introduction and limits investments for business, stunting economic growth and job creation.

"Lawsuit abuse impacts consumers through increased prices for goods and services."

Barr said one-third of respondents to the PA Chamber's 17th Annual Economic Survey named legal reform/cutting down on frivolous lawsuits as one of the top two priorities for state lawmakers to address.

According to a national poll released in May 2007 by Harris Interactive, 62 percent of respondents indicated that a state's litigation environment largely impacts important business decisions, such as where to locate, expand, and most importantly, from a statewide economic standpoint, create jobs.

But it's not just business that seeks positive changes to the Commonwealth's legal system.

According to an independent poll of 700 registered voters commissioned by the Pennsylvania Business Council, nearly two-thirds of Pennsylvanians believe the number of lawsuits is too high; 80 percent do not believe individuals or businesses should be required to pay 100 percent of damages if they are only partly to blame; and 74 percent would support legislation that limits liability even if some plaintiffs would not be able to recover 100 percent of damages.

The PA Chamber recently joined with state lawmakers and former Pennsylvania Governor and U.S. Attorney General Richard Thornburgh to unveil a package of commonsense legal reforms. As part of that effort, the chamber is working with legislators from both sides of the aisle in a renewed push to change a legal doctrine that allows a defendant in a civil liability case to be responsible for 100 percent of damages even if they are found to only be 1 percent at fault.

"By taking steps to create a balanced, commonsense legal system, elected officials have an opportunity to send a clear message across the Commonwealth and the nation that Pennsylvania is committed to attracting and retaining quality businesses and family-sustaining jobs," Barr said.

The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its membership representing nearly 50 percent of the private workforce. More information is available on the PA Chamber's website at

The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry logo is available at


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