U.S. Chamber Applauds Signing of Arkansas AG Sunshine Law

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April 01, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Lisa A. Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), issued the following statement today applauding Governor Asa Hutchinson for signing the attorney general sunshine bill (SB 204) into law. The law promotes transparency and limits contingency fees when the Attorney General of Arkansas hires outside private plaintiffs' lawyers.

"Governor Hutchinson and the legislature should be commended for reforming the practice of awarding contingency fee contracts to outside plaintiffs' lawyers. Such schemes enrich lawyers at the expense of taxpayers and raise concerns about 'pay-to-play,' conflicts of interest, the use of a public entity for personal gain, and fairness in prosecutions.

"With the signing of this law, Arkansas joins a growing group of states, including Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin that have recently taken action to limit outside contingency fee counsel arrangements by state attorneys general. 

"Arkansas’s law enacts strong sunshine measures. In particular, it includes a prohibition on the use of civil penalties or fines to calculate contingency fee awards and an overall cap on the total amount of money that outside lawyers can collect. Other states should follow Arkansas’s lead and adopt similar legislation.

"We commend Senator Jane English for her tireless leadership on this issue, as well as Representative Karilyn Brown and the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce for their steadfast support and work on the law. We also thank Attorney General Leslie Rutledge for her thoughtful input throughout the process."

ILR seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative, political, judicial, and educational activities at the global, national, state, and local levels.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.