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Tort reform group brings message to Beckley

Register-Herald photo by Greg Thomas Greg Thomas, executive director, West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, says reforming West Virginia’s legal system would make the state more attractive to business at no cost to taxpayers.
Register-Herald photo by Greg Thomas
Greg Thomas, executive director, West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, says reforming West Virginia’s legal system would make the state more attractive to business at no cost to taxpayers.

BECKLEY, W.Va. — How can West Virginia create more jobs and have a better business climate, at no cost to taxpayers?

Greg Thomas, executive director of the West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WV CALA), says legal reform is one of the answers to that question.

“Legal reform won’t fix everything, but it is one of the steps that needs to be taken.”

WV CALA organized 10 years ago to fight lawsuit abuse, and educate the public about the legal system’s effect on the quality of life for state residents.

Thomas said lawsuit abuse increases the cost of everything from balloons to bridges and discourages employers from bringing jobs to the state.

He met with a number of elected officials and small business owners Wednesday in Beckley to discuss the issues.

“West Virginia has a very bad business climate. Fewer people work in West Virginia than any other state in the country.”

One of the reasons, Thomas said, is because of the legal issues that business owners face in the state.

According to a survey conducted by the American Tort Reform Association called “Judicial Hellholes,” West Virginia ranks as one of states with the most unfair civil court systems.

When a business is sued, the circuit court judge will make a decision, and if a business owner wants to appeal, he or she must take the case directly to the West Virginia State Supreme Court of Appeals.

Thomas said West Virginia is the only state in the country that doesn’t have an intermediate court that handles such appeals…

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