Chamber Offers Testimony on Summary Judgment Reform
Susan Blackman, Vice Chair of Governmental Affairs (Wilcox Savage), presented testimony on Wednesday, July 18, 2012, to the Courts of Justice Committee of the Virginia House of Delegates.
The committee received testimony on House Bill 1138 (2012) regarding reform of Virginia summary judgment laws.
Summary judgment is a judgment entered by the judge before trial, on one or more claims/defenses asserted in a case, or based on written motions that set forth the undisputed facts.
HB 1138 is considered to be a valuable tool to fight baseless claims/defenses, and unfair settlements by allowing summary judgment to be based on sworn out of court testimony, such as depositions.
The business community supports HB 1138 as it represents an opportunity for meaningful litigation reform. Unsupported or frivolous claims can cost business tens of thousands of dollars and place a burden on the State’s court system.
Vice Chair Blackman was joined by representatives of Norfolk Southern Corporation, Newport News Ship Building, and a number of companies from throughout the Commonwealth who also offered supporting testimony. Ferguson, a Wolseley company, also offered a written support letter that was distributed to the committee.
Virginia is the only state in the nation that has restrictions that limit a summary judgment process from utilizing sworn out of court testimony such as depositions. The Governor, Attorney General and Speaker of the House support HB 1138 and the concept of summary judgment reform. Summary judgment reform will be considered again during the 2013 General Assembly session.
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