When companies decide where to establish a headquarters or where to expand, they must weigh several factors such as access to qualified candidates and tax laws. One factor businesses are considering more and more is the litigation climate of a state or local jurisdiction. According to a recent study, that does not bode well for Illinois, which ranked last among states for the quality of its litigation climate among businesses. Additionally, the City of Chicago and Cook County ranked as the worst local jurisdiction in the nation according to the same study.
Since 2002, the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform has conducted a survey to explore how fair and reasonable the states’ liability systems are perceived to be by U.S. businesses. Last year’s survey was performed by The Harris Poll and consisted of more than 1,300 respondents consisting of in-house general counsel, senior litigators, and other senior executives at companies with at least $100 million in annual revenues.
The survey broadly focuses on perceptions of a state’s liability system by asking participants to assign a state a grade of A, B, C, D, or F in each of the following areas:
- Overall treatment of tort and contract litigation
- Enforcing meaningful venue requirements
- Treatment of class action suits and mass consolidation suits
- Proportional discovery
- Scientific and technical evidence
- Trial judges’ impartiality
- Trial judges’ competence
- Juries’ fairness
- The quality of the appellate review
These grades were then used to develop the ranking of each state. The study also sought to identify specific cities or counties that might impact a state’s ranking. Accordingly, participants were given a list of cities or counties with reputations for having a poor litigation climate and asked to select two that have the least fair and reasonable litigation environments.
The results of the study were published in a report titled The 2019 Lawsuit Climate Survey: Ranking the States. Overall, Illinois ranked 50 out of 50. Illinois beat out Louisiana (49th), California (48th), Mississippi (47th), and Florida (46th) for the dubious distinction as the state with the worst litigation climate. Illinois has ranked in the bottom five states every year since 2005. Its highest ranking came in 2002, the first year the study was conducted when Illinois was ranked 34th. Continue reading ›