Chamber poll ranks state’s tort system the most unfair

Charleston Gazette
Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released rankings Monday that show West Virginia has the most unfair tort liability system in the country.

The study, conducted by the Harris Interactive polling company, is not based on statistics or financial data. It is based entirely on opinions offered by 1,456 lawyers working for businesses that make “annual revenues of at least $100 million.” 

Harvey Peyton, president of the West Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, called the Chamber’s poll “a sham study designed to dupe West Virginia lawmakers into destroying important consumer protection laws.”

“Mark Twain could have been talking about Donohue’s bogus poll when he wrote, ‘Some people use statistics like a drunk uses a lamppost —more for support than illumination,’” Peyton said. 

“This so-called ‘study’ is nothing more than a trumped-up public relations gimmick to advance the Chamber’s political agenda of destroying consumer protection laws and providing total immunity to billion-dollar corporations that break the law,” Peyton said.

Joanne Doroshow, executive director of the Center for Justice & Democracy in New York City, said Monday, “The U.S. Chamber seems utterly unconcerned with either protecting the health and safety of West Virginia consumers or with being honest with the public about the actual business climate of West Virginia, which is, in fact, growing.”
“There is strong evidence that West Virginia’s economy is in better shape today than in recent memory,” Doroshow said.

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