CHARLESTON – A statewide watchdog group is warning leaders at the capitol this Halloween that employers are finding West Virginia to be a "pretty scary" place to create jobs.
West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse predicts a $10 million "shakedown" over a slice of cheese on a burger will especially haunt this state's job market.
The so-called "hold the cheese" suit against McDonald's, filed this summer in Monongalia, demands that much for the "pain and suffering" from an allergic reaction to the dairy product and the "mental anguish" sustained by the plaintiff's mother and friend.
"This doozey glows like an oversized jack-o-lantern," WV CALA Executive Director Steve Cohen said. "What is really terrifying is that courts in this state would overlook the plaintiff's failure to check for himself if the sandwich he ordered was prepared to his precise specifications."
The international attention on West Virginia this summer from the drive-thru order at the Star City McDonald's "is as welcoming to employers as a wicked witch," Cohen said. "But (Attorney General) Darrell McGraw's pranks have struck about as much fear in the hearts of our seniors."
Cohen said older West Virginians are giving the AG a big "boo" over his conversion of lawsuit settlement dollars into "essentially a political slush fund for his own pumpkin patches."
WV CALA says McGraw's "creepy spending" jeopardizes a $4.1 million federal Medicaid match for our state's poor and disabled.
Cohen said employers also will regard Gov. Joe Manchin as a "big scaredy cat" for not vetoing a hallow venue reform bill the lawsuit industry "spooked him into signing."
"West Virginia courts are viewed as a trick-or-treat haven for costume-wearing personal injury lawyers and their out-of-state plaintiffs," Cohen said.
"The broken legal system here rattles like a skeleton. Without meaningful reform, employers will look with terror at their prospects to successfully create jobs here."