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Pinyan elected Civil Justice Reform Committee board chair

Paul Pinyan has been elected chairman of the Alabama Civil Justice Reform Committee board of directors.

Pinyan, a Cullman County native and executive director of Alabama Farmers Federation, said he intends to advance ACJRC’s founding mission.

“When ACJRC was formed in 1985, employers avoided Alabama because of its reputation for exorbitant punitive damage verdicts,” said Pinyan in a release. “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.

“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.”

Prior to becoming ALFA’s executive director, Pinyan served as a regional director and governmental affairs director for ALFA.

He holds 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.

Given the uptick in frivolous lawsuits against businesses, Pinyan said that the role ACJRC plays is more important now than ever.

“In 2024, 58 percent of Alabama appellate judicial seats will be up for election,” he 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. 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.”

Pinyan, as the committee’s board chairman, said he will work to promote a fair and common sense civil justice system.

“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,” he said. “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.

Dylan Smith is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

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