Earlier this month, the Institute for Legal Reform released its 2015 Lawsuit Climate Survey, which ranks states based upon how fair their tort liability systems are. The report provides a fascinating look into the local legal climates across the country.
This year’s report only further cements how toxic the legal reputations of some worst-offender states have become. Some of the states at the bottom of the list – West Virginia (#50), Louisiana (#49), Illinois (#48), California (#47), Florida (#44) and Missouri (#42) – are also highlighted in the American Tort Reform Foundation’s most recent Judicial Hellholes list. While some states, such as West Virginia, have made important progress on legal reform, it is clear that these states have a long way to go until they’ve regained a healthy litigation reputation.
This year the Lawsuit Climate Survey also added an important new element. Previous reports had briefly detailed the business community’s impressions about each state’s legal system, but the 2015 report conducted a detailed quantitative survey of the issue. The report’s findings in this area further confirm how essential a state’s legal reputation and environment are to its ability to attract new businesses and a talented workforce.
According to the report, 75 percent of respondents said that a state’s litigation environment is “somewhat likely” or “very likely” to impact important business decisions. Clearly, legal issues are top of mind for business leaders as they attempt to strengthen and expand their business – and create jobs.
Other key findings in the report reinforce the importance of issues Sick of Lawsuits has been raising for years. Respondents overwhelmingly reported that eliminating unnecessary lawsuits was the single most important issues for improving a state’s litigation environment. Similarly, those surveyed identified “biased/partial judgement” and a “corrupt/unfair” system as the most important issues for improving the environment.
While it shouldn’t surprise anyone that a state’s legal reputation has significant impact on its ability to attract businesses and grow the economy, this report simply provides stronger evidence.