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March 7, 2005

U.S. Chamber Study Shows Mississippi?s Legal Reforms Having a Positive Effect

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) today released its Harris Interactive 2005 State Liability Systems Rankings Study, which shows Mississippi ranked 50 in legal fairness. Despite this ranking, 96 percent of survey respondents who were familiar with the comprehensive legal reform legislation effective last September expect a major or moderate improvement in the state’s litigation environment.

“Mississippi lawmakers have greatly improved the state’s legal climate, and at every opportunity we will tell the business community around the country and around the world that the state is definitely open for business,” said Thomas Donohue, Chamber President and CEO.

Mississippi’s comprehensive legal reform legislation did not take effect until September 2004 and did not apply retroactively to cases already in the pipeline. As a result, it will take it will take some time for the law to have its full effect on perceptions of the state’s legal environment. However, the changes have already had a positive effect, with four large insurers recently announcing they are re-entering the Mississippi market.

“Employers are drawn to states with a fair and balanced legal system,” continued Donohue. “States with abusive legal climates, such as Illinois and West Virginia, should follow Mississippi’s example and pass legal reforms that will restore basic fairness to their state’s legal system and attract new business investment.”

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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