SCCLR wants wording corrected in existing law
By Alex Junes-Ward
Representatives and supporters of the South Carolina Coalition for Lawsuit Reform (SCCLR) gathered on the south steps of the S.C. State House, Wednesday, Feb. 7, making SCCLR’s case for the S.C. Senate to act favorably on the South Carolina Justice Act (the bill officially known as S.533).
“Nothing could be more important for our state,” said attorney Tom Mullikin, PhD, president of the SCCLR. “S.533 action is needed now.”
Introduced in the S.C. Senate last year, Bill S.533 would ensure that businesses in S.C. would only be responsible for damages equal to their liability in a given lawsuit.
According to Mullikin, “If a defendant is found to be less than 50-percent responsible for damages in a case, they would only be responsible for the amount of damages they caused,” he said.
Mullikin added: “This is about fairness and correcting the wording in the current law that presently allows parties to be held totally liable for damages when they are only partially responsible by a small percentage. This legislation will simply ensure the balance that all parties agreed to in 2005. Without this legislation, South Carolina may lose economic development projects to neighboring states like Georgia and North Carolina where liability laws are more balanced.”
Mullikin, founder of the Camden, S.C.-based Mullikin Law Firm and chairman of the gubernatorially established S.C. Floodwater Commission, presided over the Feb. 7 gathering which included business owners, farmers, foresters, military veterans, several state legislators including S.C. Rep. Mark Smith, S.C. Sen. Ross Turner, S.C. Sen. Shane Massey, and others.
“We are not here today to condemn or criticize those who serve in the trenches protecting the rights of injured South Carolinians, nor to create division or unnecessary controversy,” said Mullikin. “But we are here to ask the Senate to answer the Supreme Court’s call and bring our state together with an understanding and application of a fair and equitable system of civil justice.”
Senate sponsors of the Justice Act bill S.533 include Senators Thomas Alexander (president of the S.C. Senate), Harvey Peeler, Ronnie Cromer, Tom Davis, Sean Bennett, Larry Grooms, Greg Hembree, Danny Verdin, Shane Massey, Wes Climer, Shane Martin, Katrina Frye Shealy, Ross Turner, Josh Kimbrell, Michael Gambrell, Rex Rice, Dwight Loftis, Mike Reichenbach, Richard Cash, Penry Gustafson, Chip Campsen, Tom Corbin, Kent Williams, and Vernon Stephens.
The House of Representatives version of the bill, also introduced last year, is H.3933.
SCCLR serves as the united voice for the business community on tort and workers’ compensation issues; coordinating lobbying, legal, grassroots, and public relations activities.
– For more information, visit the S.C. Coalition for Lawsuit Reform at sclawsuitreform.org/.