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March 7, 2005

U.S. Chamber: Florida Drops Again in State Legal Rankings

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) today released its Harris Interactive 2005 State Liability Systems Ranking Study, which shows Florida ranked 42 in legal fairness, having dropped nine places in the last three years. ILR also announced the launch of a national advertising campaign to highlight the results of the study and promote federal and state-based legal reform.

“Florida’s legal system is badly flawed, is getting worse, and needs to be fixed,” said Thomas J. Donohue, Chamber President and CEO. “We commend Governor Bush for his commitment to passing much-needed legal reforms that will restore fairness and common sense to Florida’s legal system.”

Florida in recent years has become a hotbed of forum-shopping and asbestos litigation. Donohue pointed to several reforms that would drastically improve the state’s litigation environment, including reform of joint and several liability rules, venue rules, asbestos and class action rules.

“Employers are drawn to states with a fair and balanced legal system,” continued Donohue. “The business community supports Governor Jeb Bush in his efforts to follow the example of Mississippi, Texas and Ohio by passing legislative reforms that will restore balance to Florida’s legal system.”

The ILR/Harris Interactive survey of more than 1,400 senior corporate attorneys, now in its fourth year, is the preeminent standard by which companies, policymakers and the media judge the legal fairness of states.

The mission of the Institute for Legal Reform is to make America’s legal system simpler, fairer and faster for everyone. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation, representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.

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