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This story was inadvertently omitted from Wednesday's Gazette. It


was meant to run with the Issues 2000 story which outlined the Republican


and Democratic candidates' positions on tort reform.





Two other major candidates for governor were not invited to The


Greenbrier business summit, but have similar opinions to offer regarding


proposed changes to the state's civil justice system.



Author and Mountain Party candidate Denise Giardina and Bob Myers, the


Huntington businessman on the Libertarian ticket, share skeptical


views regarding the need for tort reform.



"Generally, Libertarians feel that the courts should be open to anyone,


which would make us very cautious about tort reform," Myers


  • aid. "We favor less government in most areas, but this is one area where

    we want to see more government involvement."



    Myers said that if anything, the court system favors large corporations


    to the detriment of others.



    "If you have money, you can buy your way into one level of justice. If


    you don't have money, you get another level of justice," he said. "When a


    rock comes through my roof from a mining company, I want a just and


    equitable outcome. I don't want a mining company hiding behind a bunch of





    Myers said he does favor such proposals as mediation and binding


    arbitration to resolve civil disputes, such as how they are used to


    resolve contract disputes between workers and their employers.



    Giardina pointed out the court rule that allows judges to fine lawyers


    for filing meritless lawsuits as one of several "reform" measures


    that already exists.



    "It seems that those kinds of protections are already in place," she


  • aid. "I'm against the idea of limiting damages. I think that's really

    just a way of increasing profits for the insurance companies and denying


    protection for consumers and people who use services."



    Giardina further questioned whether insurance companies are part of the


    problem, instead of lawsuits, in such areas a medical malpractice.



    "Perhaps if we are going to put a cap on something, perhaps we should


    put a cap on malpractice insurance," Giardina said. "It's supposed to


    protect doctors, not make insurance companies wealthy."



    To contact staff writer Lawrence Messina, use e-mail or call 348-4869.




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