Chamber pushes for more reforms: Consumer group questions motives

Belleville News-Democrat
Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Illinois business groups say they scored a major victory with the passage in the spring of a law that overhauls the state's medical liability system.
But Doug Whitley, the president of the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce, made it clear his group isn't ready to declare mission accomplished.

Whitley told the Fairview Heights Rotary Club and Belleville Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday that his group plans to push for even more sweeping reforms in 2006.
One of his group's priorities next year is the passage of bills to promote greater jury participation and to tighten rules on where a lawsuit may be filed, Whitley said.
Mark Fraley -- the Chicago-based organizer for the Center for Justice and Democracy, a consumer group partly funded by attorneys -- questioned the motives behind the chamber's push for these legal reforms.
"The primary aim that they're trying to achieve is to limit accountability for corporate wrong-doers," Fraley said.

Lawsuits cost the average Illinois family of four more than $3,300 a year in higher prices and insurance and health care costs, according to a study cited by the chamber.
Fraley called that figure "ludicrous" because "it doesn't represent what are ordinarily considered legal costs like compensation for injured victims or attorneys' fees on both sides."

For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D

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