OpinionMeister

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

2005 State Litigation Rankings

For three years, Harris Interactive has conducted a poll for the Institute for Legal Reform, a division of the US Chamber of Commerce. They poll in-house litigation officers to rank states on ten measures of litigation fairness, and then compute combined scores and rank the states. Link to the report.

This is not just an academic exercise. Fairness of the legal system is a major factor in a business's decision making on where to locate or where to expand. It is no coincidence that four of the bottom five states are among the poorest in the country.

The top five states, in descending order from 1 to 5, are Delaware, Nebraska, North Dakota, Virginia and Iowa. The worst five states, ranked in ascending order from 50 to 46 are Mississippi, West Virginia, Alabama, Louisiana and Illinois. My state, California, just missed the bottom five list, coming in at number 45.

Look up your state by following the link above.

Since my greatest interest is in California's ranks, here they are for each of the ten measures polled:
Overall treatment of tort and contract litigation: 46
Treatment of class action: 44
Punitive damages: 40
Timeliness of summary judgments/dismissal: 46
Discovery: 46
Handling of scientific and technical evidence: 34
Judge's impartiality: 43
Judge's competence: 41
Juries' predictability: 46
Juries' fairness: 45

Obviously, the new governor has his work cut out for him if he wants a state legal system that does not drive businesses away.

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