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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 lawyers."  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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