NFIB: Bring Lawsuit Reform Bill to the House Floor for a Vote

Date: March 03, 2016

Gil White, West Virginia state director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), said today that the state’s leading small-business association is urging House leadership to bring Senate Bill 508 to the floor for a vote.

The legislation is aimed at reducing frivolous and nuisance claims against small businesses and other defendants.

“Our members believe everyone should have their day in court, but there are some unscrupulous people out there who are more interested in making a fast buck than in fixing a problem,” White said.

“Small-business owners aren’t sitting on piles of cash,” White said. “The cost of defending themselves against even one bogus lawsuit could be enough to drive them out of business, even if the case is eventually thrown out of court. That’s why this bill is so important to small business.”

SB 508 would do three things to discourage frivolous suits:

  • It would require that a 60-day notice of the intent to file suit in order to give the defendant a chance to correct the problem.
  • It would forbid a private nuisance action from being brought against a business for activities directly related to its lawful operation as allowed by a government permit, license or other authorization.
  • It would limit private nuisance actions to those who own or have a possessory interest in property alleged to be affected by the alleged nuisance.

“This are commonsense measures that would go a long way toward creating a level playing field in the state’s courts,” White said. “Trial attorneys are trying to kill this bill in committee, but it’s too important to West Virginia’s small businesses and other potential victims of frivolous litigation to let it die. That’s why we’re urging House leadership to do everything within their power to bring this bill to the floor for a vote.”

NFIB/West Virginia is the state’s leading small-business association with 2,000 dues-paying members representing a cross section of the state’s economy. To learn more, visit www.NFIB.com/WV or follow @NFIB_WV on Twitter.

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