Corporate lawyers rank state's legal climate poor

Charleston Gazette
Wednesday, March 9, 2005

Tort hell or consumer haven?
The debate over the state's judicial and business climate raged in and around the Charleston Marriott Tuesday as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released its annual State Liability Systems Ranking Study.

The Center of Justice & Democracy, for example, called the annual rankings "completely unwarranted, unfair and contrary to the opinion of business leaders in the state."
"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has no business coming to West Virginia and attacking the state's business climate, at the same time the West Virginia Development Office is working hard to attract businesses to the state, with some significant success," center director Joanne Doroshow said in a prepared statement. "The U.S. Chamber should be promoting West Virginia businesses, not hurting them."
The center describes itself as a New York nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest group "that works to educate the public about the importance of the civil justice system and the dangers of so-called 'tort reforms.'"
According to its Web site, it was founded in 1998 through seed money from filmmaker Michael Moore, who sits on the board along with Erin Brockovich and about two dozen others.
The group also said Donahue defends corporate lawbreakers and, as a director of several corporations, failed to represent the interests of shareholders.
The center referred to a recent report by another public interest group, Public Citizen, which on Feb. 21 criticized Donahue's performance on the boards of Qwest Communications and Union Pacific Corp.
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D

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