New Coalition Seeks to Help Pass Tort Reform

Press Release from Tennesseans for Economic Growth; March 21, 2011:

(Nashville, Tenn.), March 21, 2011….Tennesseans for Economic Growth (TEG), a statewide business coalition, has been formed to help support passage by the Tennessee General Assembly this year of Governor Bill Haslam’s tort reform legislation.

The coalition is a non-profit 501(c)(4) membership advocacy organization made up of small, medium and large businesses operating in Tennessee. The group strongly believes that the passage of the Governor’s tort reform bill, as filed (SB1522-HB2008), will continue to improve Tennessee’s pro-business climate and help create and attract jobs to Tennessee.

“Our current civil justice system in Tennessee is seriously flawed because it threatens current business owners and jobs creators with unlimited exposure to litigation,” said Doug Buttrey, who has been named Executive Director of TEG. “This flaw in our civil justice system also puts Tennessee at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to attracting new businesses and jobs, especially since our state is one of the few in the Southeast which has yet to rein in lawsuit abuse through tort reform.”

“Tennesseans for Economic Growth believes it is critical that every citizen has access to the civil courts and that medical expenses be fully compensated. It is equally critical that damage awards do not spin out of control and become beyond reason,” Buttrey continued. “Therefore, we strongly support the Governor’s proposal in the General Assembly and will work very hard in the next few months to see it approved.”

Tennesseans for Economic Growth has a Board of Directors with leadership coming from all across Tennessee and from businesses of all sizes:

The board includes:

President: Bill Lee, CEO, Lee Company, Franklin

Secretary/Treasurer: J. Robin Barrick, President, Smith Seckman Reid, Nashville

In addition, the Board members include:

* Randy Boyd, CEO, Radio Systems, Knoxville

* Dan Brodbeck, CEO, American Constructors, Inc., Nashville

* Ron Corbin, Retired Executive with Allstate Insurance Company, Brentwood

* R. Frederick Decosimo, Principal, Decosimo Corporate Finance, Chattanooga

* Steven F. Flatt, President, National HealthCare Corporation, Murfreesboro

* Cordia Harrington, Founder, CEO and President, Tennessee Bun Company, Nashville

* Larry Papasan, Retired President, Smith & Nephew Orthopedics, Memphis

* W. Shane Reeves, Pharm.D., Reeves-Sain, Murfreesboro

* Jim Sattler, Chairman of the Board, EMJ Corporation, Chattanooga

* Dennis Vonderfecht, President & CEO, Mountain States Health Alliance, Johnson City

As Executive Director of TEG, Doug Buttrey brings 22 years of government relations experience through his work for the Federal Express Corporation as its Government Affairs representative. He also served a five-year term as both Commissioner and Chairman of the United States Surface Transportation Board, after being nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

The TEG has also hired several consultants to assist the Board in its work. They include Bryan Kaegi as the group’s financial consultant to assist in fund raising. Sonny Scott of Rising Tide Media Group as political consultant and DVL Public Relations & Advertising for communications assistance.

Tennesseans for Economic Growth is just beginning to gather the financial resources needed to carry out its immediate and long term goals to reform the civil justice system in the state.

The push to pass Governor Haslam’s tort reform plan is expected to begin in earnest with a public hearing before the subcommittee of the Tennessee House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, March 23.