When you're playing poker, it would be nice to know exactly how much money the other players have ready access to and are willing to risk.

Sure, you can eyeball the chips they have stacked on the table in multicolored columns and calculate the total, but that doesn't tell you how much cash they have in their wallets or what the balance is in their checking accounts.

If you knew that, you'd know just how much you could take from them and just how far you could push them. That would be valuable information.

Similar knowledge also could come in handy for someone contemplating a lawsuit.

There's no point in pursuing a pauper, right? Or a business with modest assets? But what if that penniless person or that Spartan enterprise were seriously insured? Oh yeah, that might make them tempting targets.

Of course, it would help to know exactly how much they're insured for before you file your suit. That way, you'd know how high to aim. How frustrating it must be to win a sizable pot and realize you would have won more if you'd just been more audacious.

Such thoughts as these supposedly never occurred to West Virginia State House Judiciary Chairman Tim Miley, and he's shocked -– shocked! –- that anyone could think that.

House Bill 4486, which recently passed with his ardent support, is a poker player's pipe dream. If passed by the Senate, the bill would allow anyone making an insurance claim against another party to ascertain the extent of that party's coverage before filing a suit.

You would think that Tim Miley, being a personal injury attorney, would understand the implications of this bill -– how it will prompt state-based businesses to relocate and dissuade out-of-state concerns from coming into West Virginia.

But no, Miley doesn't get it. He insists the bill will reduce the incidence of lawsuits. Let's hope wiser politicians reduce the bill to dust.

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