U.S. Chamber Releases Study Demonstrating Economic Benefits for Improving State Legal Environments

Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - 8:00pm

Speaker Boehner Joins Governors Haley, McDonnell at U.S. Chamber’s Annual Legal Reform Summit

WASHINGTON, D.C.—A report estimating the economic savings each state can realize by improving its legal environment was released at the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform’s (ILR) 12th Annual Legal Reform Summit today.

“Americans are rightly frustrated about the current state of the economy,” said ILR President Lisa A. Rickard at the Summit, which focused on key legal, regulatory, and political issues that impact the ability of the American economy to grow and to create jobs. “Unfortunately, America’s broken lawsuit system hampers the ability of American businesses to create jobs and drive much-needed economic growth.”

Rickard and U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue were joined by House Speaker John Boehner, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and dozens of political, legal, and business leaders who spoke at today’s event.

“At a time when states are facing tight budgets and sluggish economic growth, this new study shows that actions by states to improve their legal environments can produce real economic dividends,” said Rickard.

Commissioned by ILR and conducted by NERA Economic Consulting, the new working paper, Creating Conditions for Economic Growth: The Role of the Legal Environment (available here), uses a one-of-its-kind econometric model to establish a benchmark for identifying excessive tort costs. The model used in the study incorporates a variety of factors to determine a state’s legal environment, including the perceived fairness of the legal system, the concentration of lawyers in the state, the number of tort cases filed per year and the number of major verdicts in the state.

Two additional studies were also released at the summit: Preventing Government Overpayments to Qui Tam Plaintiffs (available here) proposes amendments to improve the False Claims Act, while Confronting the New Breed of Transnational Litigation: Abusive Foreign Judgments (available here) discusses the legal arguments regarding enforcement of foreign judgments against businesses in U.S. courts.

ILR also honored key individuals and organizations who are working to improve America’s litigation environment with the ILR Legal Reform Awards. Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina received the 2011 State Leadership Award, while the Business Council of Alabama received the Outstanding Organization Award. In addition, John Beisner of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom was honored for his outstanding contributions to legal reform research and policy development with the 2011 Research and Policy Award.