States’ Lawsuit Climates Influence Expansion Decisions, Say Businesses

September 18, 2017

An all-time high 85 percent of senior business executives at major U.S. companies say a state’s lawsuit environment is likely to impact decisions about where to locate or expand their business, according to the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform’s (ILR) new 2017 Lawsuit Climate Survey: Ranking the States.

For the first time in the survey’s 15-year history, the survey crowned a new top state, South Dakota, as having the best legal climate for business. Delaware, which had the best lawsuit climate in every previous survey, lost its top position.

The survey shows state lawsuit climates overall are improving, and the competition among states is tightening. The difference between states’ individual scores is the smallest it has ever been, meaning that states are competing harder than ever to improve their litigation environments.

“If this were a marathon, the pack of runners would be tightening, and running faster. States not keeping up on legal reform are being passed by,” said ILR President Lisa A. Rickard. But, she cautioned that overall improvement doesn’t mean states have achieved a healthy lawsuit climate. “There’s been progress, but let’s not kid ourselves — the ‘sue ’em’ culture in the U.S. is still the world’s worst.”

In another first for the survey, Louisiana ranked at the bottom nationally. Other perennial bottom-10 states include California (47th) and Illinois (48th).

For the third time since 2010, Chicago/Cook County, Illinois, is ranked as the worst local jurisdiction. 24 percent of those surveyed said it has the least fair courts in the country. Other jurisdictions singled out as among the worst include: Los Angeles, Calif.; Jefferson County, Texas; New Orleans/Orleans Parish, La.; and Detroit, Mich.

Harris Poll, a global polling firm, conducted the 2017 Lawsuit Climate Survey through more than 1,300 telephone and online interviews between March 31 and June 26, 2017. Participants were senior business lawyers and executives in companies with annual revenues of at least $100 million. The ranked the fairness of state lawsuit environments across 10 categories including their laws, courts, judges and juries.

Overall Rankings of State Liability Systems 2012 – 2017

State 2017 Rank 2015 Rank 2012 Rank
South Dakota 1 9 11
Vermont 2 2 16
Idaho 3 6 6
Minnesota 4 13 4
New Hampshire 5 5 21
Alaska 6 12 13
Nebraska 7 3 2
Wyoming 8 8 3
Maine 9 14 12
Virginia 10 11 7
Delaware 11 1 1
Utah 12 10 9
Iowa 13 4 10
Massachusetts 14 17 19
Indiana 15 18 14
Connecticut 16 22 25
North Dakota 17 15 8
Kansas 18 19 5
Maryland 19 28 33
Wisconsin 20 20 15
Oregon 21 32 28
Michigan 22 24 27
Hawaii 23 30 29
Rhode Island 24 26 31
Arizona 25 25 17
Ohio 26 27 30
Montana 27 34 45
Washington 28 29 22
New York 29 21 18
Tennessee 30 23 26
Oklahoma 31 33 42
New Mexico 32 45 44
North Carolina 33 7 20
South Carolina 34 36 39
Colorado 35 16 23
Arkansas 36 41 35
Nevada 37 35 37
Pennsylvania 38 37 40
Texas 39 40 36
Georgia 40 31 24
New Jersey 41 38 32
Kentucky 42 39 38
Alabama 43 46 43
Mississippi 44 43 48
West Virginia 45 50 50
Florida 46 44 41
California 47 47 47
Illinois 48 48 46
Missouri 49 42 34
Louisiana 50 49 49

Scores presented in this table have been rounded to one decimal place, but rankings are based on the unrounded number. Source: U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Institute for Legal Reform

From This Issue

Insurance Journal West September 18, 2017
September 18, 2017
Insurance Journal West Magazine

Professional Liability Directory; Trucking; Residential Contractors

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

More News
More News Features