Personal injury lawyers are once again pouring cash into legislative campaigns, according to the research of publicly available campaign finance reports conducted by West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WV CALA). The legal watchdog group released the first edition of its “Dirty Dozen” list today, which names the candidates who have accepted the most campaign cash from millionaire personal injury lawyers.
"The "Dirty Dozen" list of candidates are funding their campaigns with lots of cash from millionaire personal injury lawyers who are seeking to turn West Virginia in the wrong direction and once again make our state a "Judicial Hellhole." They support abusive lawsuits, want more causes of actions to flood our legal system and oppose the much-needed lawsuit reforms our state has recently enacted. West Virginians should not support these candidates," said Roman Stauffer, Executive Director of WV CALA.
William Ihlenfeld, a personal injury lawyer appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as United States Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia, running in State Senate District 1 tops the "Dirty Dozen" list. Nearly one-third of his total contributions, over $25,000, came from personal injury lawyer interests.
Terrell Ellis, a liberal community organizer, running in Senate District 17 in Charleston, ranks second on the "Dirty Dozen" list. Nearly one-quarter of her contributions, almost $14,000, came from personal injury lawyer interests who have opposed recently enacted legal reforms that helped West Virginia shed the "Judicial Hellholes" label.
Chad Lovejoy, a Huntington personal injury lawyer, running in House District 17 has once again ranked near the top of the “Dirty Dozen” list. Over a quarter of his contributions, over $11,000, came from personal injury lawyer interests.
The personal injury lawsuit industry heavily supported incumbent Delegates and Senators, leading the list is Andrew Robinson (House District 36), with $10,000 in contribution, Shawn Fluharty (House District 3) with $8,000 in contributions, Mike Pushkin (House District 37) with $5,500 in contributions, and Andrew Byrd House District 35) with $5,500 in contributions, Mike Romano (Senate District 12) with $5,000 in contributions, and Isaac Sponaugle (House District 55) with $2,700 in contributions.
Several non-incumbent legislative candidates made the "Dirty Dozen" list, including Richard Lindsay (Senate District 8) with over $11,000 in contributions, Harry Deitzler (House District 10) with $5,000 in contributions, and Lisa Zukoff (House District 4) with $3,000 in contributions.
WV CALA’s ”Dirty Dozen” candidates have taken money from personal injury lawyers who have over the years used our out-of-step legal system and lawsuit greed for personal profit.
The personal injury lawyers’ political action committee (PAC), known as the Trial Lawyers PAC or LAWPAC, contributed nearly $60,000 to legislative candidates during the Primary campaign finance period.
"These candidates if elected, from Bill Ihlenfield and Terrell Ellis to the bottom of the list, will work with the personal injury lawsuit industry to oppose much-needed legal reforms, work to repeal reforms that have resulted in a fair and balanced legal system, and work to return our state to the notorious "Judicial Hellhole" days. We will continue to shine a light on greedy personal injury lawyer spending and let voters know who is behind these efforts and which candidates they support. As much as these lawyers would like to see it, West Virginia is not for sale," concluded Stauffer.