Member's Press Release

Release Date: 12/15/2016
Contact: Jacque Bland at (304) 590-4678

Mitch Carmichael

Senate President-elect Mitch Carmichael Praises Legislature’s Legal Reform Efforts

CHARLESTON – Senate President-elect Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, praised the work of the Senate and House of Delegates as West Virginia remained off the American Tort Reform Association’s “Judicial Hellholes” list for the second year in a row. West Virginia had been at or near the top of the “Judicial Hellholes” list since its creation in 2003.

“Since we became the majority in 2015, we have committed ourselves to creating a business climate that will encourage growth and put our state on the radar for companies who want a place to thrive,” Senate President-elect Carmichael said. “I hope we are able to build off the momentum and success of the previous two years as we head into this Legislative session, and pass even more reforms that will make the days of being a ‘Judicial Hellhole’ a distant memory.”

Last year, West Virginia came off the “Judicial Hellholes” list and was put on the “Watch List,” a move that was directly attributed to the Legislature’s aggressive efforts in passing legal reform during the 2015 Legislative session. In the 2016 edition of the “Judicial Hellholes” report, West Virginia remains on the “Watch List,” but in the bottom spot.

“This once perennial Judicial Hellhole has made significant progress in restoring balance to its civil justice system over the past two years,” the report reads. “On the heels of major reforms in 2015, the Legislature took several more positive steps in 2016.”

Noted in the report where three particular pieces of legislation from the 2016 session:

  • Senate Bill 7, a bill that prohibits the recovery of damages that occur while committing an unlawful act;
  • House Bill 4007, which put into state code processes the Attorney General will use when hiring private attorneys on a contingency fee basis, and guidelines on that practice (same as Senate Bill 8);
  • Senate Bill 15, the adoption of the learned intermediary doctrine, which is a widely accepted principle that prescription drug or medical device companies have an obligation to educate doctors of potential side effects

    “When you look back at all that was accomplished in terms of legal reform during the previous two sessions, the most important thing to note is that a good number of those reforms were passed in a bipartisan way,” Senate President-elect Carmichael said. “I believe we were able to conclusively show that wanting a fair and predictable legal system isn’t a Republican issue or a Democrat issue, it’s what West Virginians want and deserve.”

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