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Survey Ranks West Virginia Courts Worst

Congratulations to West Virginia. It's spot stands secure as the worst state in which to be sued. So says Lawsuit Climate 2008, the annual ranking of state liability systems published by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform. West Virginia ranked 50 out of 50 for the third straight year, according to this announcement, and "has languished near the bottom of the rankings" since they began seven years ago. At the top of the list, as it is every year, is Delaware, described as "first among all fifty states in the fairness of its litigation environment."

The survey is conducted for ILR by the market research firm Harris Interactive. Harris asked nearly 1,000 in-house counsel and senior corporate litigators to evaluate up to five states in which they were familiar with the litigation environment. Based on their responses, Harris added up the scores and assigned each state a ranking. The five states with the most favorable litigation environments for business, the survey concluded, are:

  • Delaware
  • Nebraska
  • Maine
  • Indiana
  • Utah

The five worst (starting with number 50) are:

  • West Virginia
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Alabama
  • Illinois

A state's ranking, the survey notes, may not reflect the "nuances" of its various courts. "For example, several studies have documented very high litigation activity in certain county courts such as Madison County, Illinois and Jefferson County, Texas, revealing that these counties have 'magnet courts' that are extremely hospitable to plaintiffs."

Over at opposing counsel's table, the American Association for Justice called the report "phony" and "propaganda." "U.S. Chamber’s goal is to make sure people can’t get justice in the courtroom, especially against the corporations that finance this front group," said AAJ CEO Jon Haber. AAJ has put together a response to the ILR report, The Truth About the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Further reading: Chamber survey on state 'legal climates' draws flak from plaintiffs' attorneys.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on April 23, 2008 at 01:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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