WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) today announced that Texas has remained one of the ten worst legal climates in the country, moving up one spot to number 43 in the 2006 Harris State Liability Systems Ranking Study. In addition, various Texas jurisdictions were named among the least fair and reasonable jurisdictions in the country.
“Despite the meaningful reforms passed in 2003, Texas remains one of the worst legal climates in the country,” said Tom Donohue, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “The Rio Grande Valley and the Gulf Coast are widely known as jackpot jurisdictions due to the high number of lawsuits, large awards and unfair day-to-day practices in terms of class certification, discovery, evidentiary rulings and jury instructions.”
A recent actuarial study estimated the annual cost of the tort system in America to be $260 billion, or $886 per citizen. Following those estimates, the price tag of tort litigation for the entire population of Texas is almost $20 billion.
“The best thing a state can do to attract business is to have a fair legal system,” continued Donohue. “Unfortunately, the local courts have not caught up with the important reforms championed by Governor Perry and the state legislature in 2003. The people of Texas will see significant improvement in their state’s legal fairness rankings only when these individual jurisdictions begin complying with the spirit and letter of the law.”
The ILR/Harris Interactive survey of more than 1,400 senior attorneys, now in its fifth year, is the preeminent standard by which companies, policymakers and the media measure the legal fairness of states. In 2006, West Virginia ranked last among the fifty states and, for the fifth year in a row, Delaware is ranked number one.
ILR is launching a national advertising campaign highlighting the results of the study and the need for comprehensive legal reform.
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