Poll shows voters want Congress to end lawsuit abuse

By The West Virginia Record | Nov 8, 2006

WASHINGTON -- As the newly elected Congress looks to set its legislative agenda, one issue that enjoys broad bipartisan support from voters is legal reform, according to a poll released by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR).

"Voters across the political spectrum expect their elected officials to curb frivolous lawsuits and abusive practices like fraudulent medical screenings and excessive discovery," ILR President Lisa Rickard said. "We will urge the newly elected Congress to respond to their concerns."

The survey shows that 85 percent of the people who voted in the mid-term election think frivolous lawsuits are a serious problem, and 86 percent say the next Congress should continue to reform the lawsuit system. Three-quarters of those who say they are strong Democrats regard frivolous lawsuits as a problem.

"In an increasingly polarized electorate, very few issues command this much bipartisan support," said pollster Bill McInturff, a partner at Public Opinion Strategies, the firm that conducted the election night survey of 800 people who voted on Nov. 7. The margin of error for the survey is 3.5 percent.

The voters who most helped shape the newly elected Congress say action on legal reform will affect the way they will vote in the future. Among swing voters -- people who call themselves political independents and those who have only a weak affiliation to a political party -- 63 percent say they will have a more favorable impression of Democrats in Congress if their agenda includes reforms to end lawsuit abuse.

The survey also shows that 81 percent of all respondents think there are too many lawsuits filed in America, raising the price of everyday goods and services, and 84 percent think the number of lawsuits clogs up the court system, making it harder for truly injured people to get justice.

The goal of the Chamber's Institute for Legal Reform is to make America's legal system simpler, fairer, and faster for everyone. It seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative, political, judicial, and educational activities at the national, state, and local levels. The Record is owned by the U.S. Chamber.

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