Civil Justice Reform

  • U.S. Chamber Applauds Enactment of Arkansas Law to Rein in Lawsuit Lending Abuses

    U.S. Chamber Applauds Enactment of Arkansas Law to Rein in Lawsuit Lending Abuses

    April 03, 2015

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Lisa A. Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), issued the following statement today applauding Governor Asa Hutchinson for signing into law a bill to rein in lawsuit lending abuses (SB 882). Lawsuit lending is a financial practice that provides "up-front" cash to individual plaintiffs to cover immediate living or medical expenses during litigation.

    "We applaud Governor Hutchinson and the state legislature for enacting a strong bipartisan law requiring lawsuit lenders to play by the same rules as others who provide loans in Arkansas. Lawsuit lending shortchanges injured consumers since these loans are typically attached to sky-high interest rates – as much as 200 percent – that leave borrowers with little to no recovery from their lawsuit once the loan is repaid. The practice also increases litigation costs and crowds court dockets.

    "With the signing of this law, Arkansas joins Tennessee in placing commonsense legislative safeguards around such loans. Other states ought to follow their lead.  

    "We especially commend bill sponsor Senator Jason Rapert for his tireless work on this law. Because of his leadership on this critical issue, consumers and businesses in Arkansas will no longer be exploited by this predatory industry."

    ILR seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative, political, judicial, and educational activities at the global, national, state, and local levels.

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

  • U.S. Chamber Applauds Signing of Arkansas AG Sunshine Law

    U.S. Chamber Applauds Signing of Arkansas AG Sunshine Law

    April 01, 2015

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Lisa A. Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), issued the following statement applauding Governor Asa Hutchinson for signing the attorney general sunshine bill (SB 204) into law. The law promotes transparency and limits contingency fees when the Attorney General of Arkansas hires outside private plaintiffs' lawyers.

    "Governor Hutchinson and the legislature should be commended for reforming the practice of awarding contingency fee contracts to outside plaintiffs' lawyers. Such schemes enrich lawyers at the expense of taxpayers and raise concerns about 'pay-to-play,' conflicts of interest, the use of a public entity for personal gain, and fairness in prosecutions.

    "With the signing of this law, Arkansas joins a growing group of states, including Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin that have recently taken action to limit outside contingency fee counsel arrangements by state attorneys general. 

    "Arkansas’s law enacts strong sunshine measures. In particular, it includes a prohibition on the use of civil penalties or fines to calculate contingency fee awards and an overall cap on the total amount of money that outside lawyers can collect. Other states should follow Arkansas’s lead and adopt similar legislation.

    "We commend Senator Jane English for her tireless leadership on this issue, as well as Representative Karilyn Brown and the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce for their steadfast support and work on the law. We also thank Attorney General Leslie Rutledge for her thoughtful input throughout the process."

    ILR seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative, political, judicial, and educational activities at the global, national, state, and local levels.

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.