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U.S. Chamber Study Cites Worst States for Legal Fairness

Sunday, March 26, 2006 - 7:00pm

WASHINGTON, DC—West Virginia, Louisiana, Illinois, California, and Texas were among the worst states for legal fairness, while Mississippi is improving after enacting legal reforms, according to a new ranking of the best and worst state legal systems released today by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR).

"This survey sends a clear message to states whose legal climate drives away businesses, jobs, and economic development," said Tom Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "If you want a healthy state economy, clean up your act."

The study found the five top states for overall legal fairness are, in order, Delaware, Nebraska, Virginia, Iowa, and Connecticut. "Businesses go where they are welcome," said Donohue. "One of the most welcoming features of a state is a fair legal system. When businesses set up shop in your state, they bring jobs, an expanded tax base, and economic vitality."

The 2006 State Liability Systems Ranking Study was conducted by Harris Interactive for ILR. The survey, now in its fifth year, polled more than 1,400 senior attorneys to explore how reasonable and fair the tort liability system is perceived to be by U.S. businesses. The attorneys were asked to judge a number of factors, including overall treatment of tort and contract litigation, treatment of class action suits and mass consolidation suits, judges' impartiality and competence, and juries' predictability and fairness.

ILR is launching a national advertising campaign highlighting the results of the study and the need for comprehensive legal reform. The print campaign will feature the message "Please Don't Feed the Trial Lawyers."

ILR's mission is to make America's legal system simpler, fairer, and faster for everyone. It seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative, political, judicial, and educational activities at the national, state, and local levels. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation, representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.

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The ILR ranking survey is available online at www.instituteforlegalreform.org