Standing with Small Businesses in the Fight Against Lawsuit Abuse
As we’ve told you before, lawsuit abuse hits small businesses particularly hard. From abusive Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuits to outrageous slip and fall lawsuits, many small business owners live in fear of the day that an unscrupulous personal injury lawyer will come knocking at their door.
Which Sounds Better to You: More Jobs or More Lawsuits?
Small businesses are the backbones of our communities, providing two-thirds of all news jobs each year. But small businesses are also favorite targets of lawsuits, many of them abusive. At worst, a single abusive lawsuit can destroy a small business. At best, lawsuit abuse makes it even harder for small businesses to succeed, grow, and provide the jobs and services our communities need.
Here are some quick facts from the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform about the impact of lawsuit abuse on small businesses:
• Lawsuits cost small businesses $105.4 billion in 2008
Bad Lawsuits Are Hurting America’s Global Competitiveness
In a recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece, Harvard professor Niall Ferguson argues that doing business in the United States is becoming significantly harder. Why? Ferguson says one big reason is the fact that the United States has an exceptionally expensive legal system.
In today’s global economy, companies have choices about where they want to operate, and an out of control legal system is discouraging them from setting up shop in the United States. The end result? Fewer jobs and fewer economic opportunities.
California: #1 in Weather, #50 in Business
California’s got a lot going for it. Great weather, beautiful scenery, you name it. But one thing the state definitely doesn’t have? A good business climate. In fact, a new report from Chief Executive Magazine ranked the state as the nation’s worst for doing business!
This news shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who follows the world of legal reform. California also has the nation’s worst legal climate, and the two facts are no doubt connected. Lawsuit abuse kills jobs and makes it difficult for businesses to thrive.
Illinois could use a little ‘Texas’
Editor’s Note: Project Lawsuit Abuse regularly highlights lawsuit abuse news from across the country. Today, Travis Akin, Executive Director of Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch, contributed a guest post for Project Lawsuit Abuse.
Texas Governor Rick Perry is on a mission to lure Illinois businesses to Texas and Illinois politicians are none too pleased about it.
Perry had this to say about his visit to Illinois:
Watch Out Illinois…Everyone’s Trying To Steal Your Jobs!
Reform works, and Texas is proof. In 2003, Texas was a judicial hellhole. Abusive lawsuits were out of control, and the state’s unfriendly legal climate was driving away businesses, jobs and doctors.
In the 10 years since, Texas passed some of the most comprehensive legal reform in the nation and the results have been spectacular. Texas is no longer a playground for personal injury lawyers; it’s a hot spot for job creation and economic growth. Texas has experienced a miracle, and legal reform is largely responsible.
Project Lawsuit Abuse Newsmakers
Tort reformers have been turning up all over the internet recently. We took the liberty of rounding up some of the standouts. You may recognize a few friends of Project Lawsuit Abuse in there. Here are some of the newsmakers from around the country.
Let’s end predatory lending to plaintiffs
Watch Out Illinois – Wisconsin Is Coming for Your Jobs!
On March 25, Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch held a forum in Rockford, Illinois to tell residents something important: if Illinois doesn’t get its act together and pass substantial legal reforms, then Wisconsin, a state with a significantly better legal climate, is going to steal their jobs.
In fact, Bill Smith, the Wisconsin state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, spoke at the forum and said that Wisconsin’s recently passed reforms were actually put in place with the intent of luring jobs from Illinois!
California Dreaming…of Lawsuits
A lot of factors make California a place where people like to live and visit: movie stars, beautiful beaches, and unbelievably pleasant weather. But one issue that doesn’t make the state very appealing? Its legal climate. Today, the American Tort Reform Association released its annual survey of lawsuit abuse throughout the country, officially designating California the nation’s number one “Judicial Hellhole.”
Lawsuit Abuse: A Bipartisan Issue
In the aftermath of Tuesday’s election, the nation may seem deeply divided between Democrats and Republicans. But while party labels have a lot of consequences, there is one issue on which Republicans and Democrats can agree: lawsuit abuse is a problem. A recent survey released by the American Tort Reform Association and Sick of Lawsuits found that members of both parties believe that there are too many frivolous lawsuits and that lawsuit abuse hurts the economy.
A Texas Success Story
Everything really is bigger in Texas. The Lone Star State has experienced enormous job growth in the last few years. It is no coincidence that this job surge followed the state’s passage of significant legal reforms such as “loser pays,” where plaintiffs must cover their opponents’ legal fees if their claims are found groundless.
These changes have brought Texas litigation costs to a record low and made it a model of success for other states.
What Stays in Vegas? Maybe Not Jobs.
According to the Institute for Legal Reform, Nevada’s courts may be more of a gamble than a shot at fairness. Nevada’s lawsuit climate ranked 39th in the nation.
According to an article by Vegas Inc, the state could “increase employment by 1 to 2 percent if it were to improve its legal environment.” What do those changes look like? It’s actions like making sure class actions benefit consumers, not trial lawyers. It’s making sure that citizens understand the importance of jury duty and the clog that frivolous lawsuits put on our courts. It’s keeping a watchdog eye on judges and the Attorney General.