Sheff testifies in support of greater transparency in civil justice system

Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013
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Sheff testifies in favor of House Bill No. 1211, in front of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary on Oct. 22. Photo by Elyse Lindahl.

Massachusetts Bar Association President Douglas K. Sheff testified on Tuesday, Oct. 22, in support of legislation that would provide greater transparency and efficiency in the Massachusetts civil justice system.

The hearing, held by the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, focused on tort issues. Sheff spoke in favor of House Bill No. 1211, which would allow judges discretion to deal with liens in an equitable manner. The bill would also prohibit the use of liability waivers by employers in the commonwealth as void against the public policy inherent in G.L. c. 152, the Massachusetts Workers' Compensation statute, which specifically permits employees the right to bring a third party action to recover for their injuries. Additionally, this bill would provide for jury voir dire in civil cases.

"The public doesn't like loopholes and barriers to real justice," said Sheff. "In passing this bill, you would not just make litigation more fair and efficient, you would not simply help lawyers and judges to do the right thing and get the right result, you would be restoring an element of public trust."