WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall has joined the bipartisan Congressional Civil Justice Caucus.

"It is important that we continue to explore ways to improve and strengthen our civil justice system for working families and small businesses," Rahall (D-W.Va. District 3) said. "I hope the Caucus generates some new ideas that can foster compromise and unity in the Congress.

"Civil justice reform is a long-running concern that comes up session after session of Congress. Caucuses often times enable Members to get beyond the glare of the television cameras and heated floor debates and can smooth the road for innovative ideas and bipartisan cooperation.

"This year, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to consider patent reform and medical malpractice legislation. I hope the Caucus will help to inform and shape those debates and yield some good policy initiatives."

The Civil Justice Caucus is the brainchild of Congressman Bob Goodlatte, a Republican representative from neighboring Virginia, and his colleague and co-chairman Dan Boren (D-Oklahoma). The Caucus will serve as a forum for discussing medical malpractice reform, venue reform, patent reform, federal pleading standards and other legal reform issues that affect the efficiency of our civil justice system and the vitality of our state and national economies.

"Excessive and frivolous litigation and inefficient rules and procedures drain U.S. companies of desperately-needed resources and hinder job growth and innovation," Goodlatte has said.

He said "the cost of the U.S. tort liability system as a percentage of GDP is more than double the average cost of any other industrialized nation."

With the Civil Justice Caucus, Goodlatte and Boren hope to increase understanding in Congress, and among the general public, "of how civil justice issues affect the free enterprise system, America's global competitiveness, and businesses large and small."

The goal of the Caucus is to promote "a civil justice system that respects the rule of law and advances the United States' leadership in innovation, job creation, and economic growth."

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