The Alabama Civil Justice Reform Committee was organized in 1985 to respond to the growing number of lawsuits in Alabama and the outrageous awards being levied against the business and industry sector. ACJRC is composed of organizations representing various business and industry related associations, agricultural groups, medical interests, major corporations, as well as small businesses.
The membership of ACJRC was successful in working to get a strong tort reform package through the Alabama Legislature
in 1987. That tort reform package was hailed throughout the nation as one of the best reform measures ever written. With the passage of these bills, the business community assumed they had accomplished tort reform. The trial lawyers then
focused their resources on electing liberal judges who struck down the entire reform package.
In 1994, ACJRC members responded to this challenge by refocusing our efforts and since then we have led Alabama’s business, agriculture, manufacturing and small business communities in a grassroots effort to elect reasonable, fair-minded judges. As a result, Alabama now has balanced appellate courts with reputations of fairness for all. Our challenge now is to maintain this balance and keep Alabama court’s out of the national headlines, thus contributing to further
In 2011, ACJRC was successful in getting four reform measures through the Alabama Legislature. That package included measures to reduce the interest rate on post judgment awards, provided protection from civil liability to product manufacturers and retailers, added restrictions on venue and improved Alabama’s standards for expert witnesses.
Today, ACJRC’s task is to maintain the gains we have made on Alabama’s high courts and to continue our work with the Legislature to pass further reforms. We need to work to bring a philosophical balance to Alabama’s lower courts so abuses can be stopped at the local level. We need to work harder to educate Alabama’s younger voters about the importance of maintaining a fair, conservative judiciary and its impact on economic develop in our state. Alabama has so much to offer. Our court system should not impede our economic development opportunities.
Alabama Farmers Federation
Alabama Retail Association
National Federation of Independent Business
Home Builders Association of Alabama
Automobile Dealers Association of Alabama
Business Council of Alabama
Board of Directors
John Q. Adams, III
Alabama Poultry and Egg Association
Alabama Nursing Home Association
The Bloom Group
Alabama Power Company
Petroleum & Convenience Store Marketers of Alabama
Fine, Geddie & Associates
Alabama Hospital Association
Alabama Forestry Association
Alabama Trucking Association
International Paper Company
Alabama Bankers Association
Alabama Manufactured Housing Association
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama
Alabama Rural Electric Association
Alabama Association of Realtors
Associated General Contractors of Alabama
Pinyan Elected ACJRC Chairman
MONTGOMERY, Ala., Sept. 27 — The Alabama Civil Justice Reform Committee (ACJRC) has elected Paul Pinyan chairman of its board of directors.
Pinyan, who serves as executive director for Alabama Farmers Federation, said he looks forward to working with other business and association leaders to ensure a fair judicial environment that encourages economic opportunities for all Alabamians.
“When ACJRC was formed in 1985, employers avoided Alabama because of its reputation for exorbitant punitive damage verdicts. A coalition of small businesses, corporations and trade associations came together to pass reasonable tort reform measures and educate voters about the importance of a fair and balanced civil justice system,” Pinyan said. “Today,
Alabama is attractive to job creators and enjoys one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. ACJRC has been instrumental in bringing about this change.”
A Cullman County native, Pinyan joined the Federation in 1998 and served as a regional director and governmental affairs director before being named executive director in 2010. He earned a bachelor’s degree in animal and dairy science from Auburn University, a master’s degree in education from Alabama A&M University and a juris doctorate from Faulkner University’s Jones School of Law. Pinyan has served as chairman of the Alabama 4-H Foundation, Alabama FFA Foundation, Alabama Council of Association Executives and Auburn University Ag Alumni Club, among other leadership roles. He also serves on the advisory boards for Troy University Manuel H. Johnson Center, UAB Medical School Montgomery Campus and Baptist Medical Center South.
Pinyan said the ACJRC mission is more important now than in recent decades.
“In 2024, 58 percent of Alabama appellate judicial seats will be up for election,” Pinyan said. “Anti-business political action committees are spending millions to influence these elections. Meanwhile, plaintiff attorneys are luring clients with promises of cash settlements. In one industry alone — commercial trucking — we saw the average national verdict size for lawsuits increase nearly 1,000 percent from 2010 to 2018.
“Nursing homes and hospitals are also under attack,” Pinyan continued. “ACJRC recently participated as an amicus curiae by filing a brief with the Supreme Court of Alabama in the appeal by an Alabama hospital of a wrongful death medical malpractice action. A Mobile County jury recently awarded the plaintiff $35 million. During post-verdict proceedings, the trial court reduced the amount of the judgement to $10 million but otherwise upheld the verdict. ACJRC will urge the Court to apply the statutory cap adopted by the Alabama Legislature in 1987, which with its CPI inflation adjustment feature is now just over $2.5 million. I look forward to strengthening the ACJRC coalition as we work to educate Alabama voters and leaders about the pitfalls of jackpot justice and nuclear verdicts.”
Pinyan succeeds Tom Dart, who was elected ACJRC chair in 2004. Dart has served as president of the Automobile Dealers Association of Alabama since 1985. He will continue to serve on the ACJRC executive committee.