U.S. Chamber Survey Ranks Friendliest Courts for Business

Delaware, home base of more than half of all Fortune 500 companies, also has the most business-friendly courts in the country, a survey by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce suggests. By contrast, when it comes to a ”reasonable and balanced” approach to tort liability cases, West Virginia is at the bottom of the heap, the survey says, with Lousiana and Mississippi ranked 49th and 48th. 

Every year, the chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform asks 1,400 corporate lawyers and executives to rate state court systems. Rankings are based on 13 categories, including jury fairness, judicial competence, caps on damages and speedy trials.

Other findings of the latest survey

  • 67 percent said a state’s lawsuit climate affects business decisions, including where to locate.
  • The counties with the worst courts in the U.S. were Cook County, Ill. (Chicago), followed by Los Angeles and Madison County, Ill.

The American Assn. for Justice, the leading trial lawyer group,  called the report ”another shallow attempt to weaken the civil justice system to help its Wall Street and big business financers,” in the words of  spokesman Ray DeLorenzi.

The AAJ said that the lawyers and executives surveyed couldn’t possibly have knowledge of all the states and counties. For example, the group said, when West Virginia’s courts were called the second most unfriendly in 2005, only 170 of more than 1,400 lawyers surveyed had direct contact with the state’s legal system.

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About the author

Matthew Richmond is a researcher-reporter for FairWarning.

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