-By Warner Todd Huston
The Institute for Legal Reform has completed its 2010 rankings of the lawsuit climate in the various states and Illinois comes in at a dismal 45th place. If Obama needs some help, that would be 45 out of 50 states (not 57 or 58 states as he said during the campaign). This overly litigious lawsuit climate is yet another reason why Illinois has some of the highest unemployment stats in the country.
The rankings determine how reasonable a state’s tort liability culture is as perceived by U.S. Businesses and their legal counsel offices. In other words, do businesses feel that the legal system in a state is good for or detrimental to business interests?
According to the survey, Chicago/Cook County has the single worst tort climate in the country. The respondents felt that Cook County had the most biased judges, the most corruption, the highest most unfair damage awards, and a slow, unresponsive legal process.
Now, one can quibble that this survey does rely on the feelings of the corporate lawyers in businesses all across the country, so one might say that we are getting a one-sided view of the legal system among the states. That is all well and good, but whether it is 100% reliable or not, these feelings are what guides businesses and these feelings are widespread and tend to funnel business opportunities to the states with the most fair legal climates and away from those states where business is treated as a criminal enterprise instead of the economic engine of the state. Skewed opinions or no, these feelings impact a state’s economy.
So, is it any surprise that Illinois has one of the worst unemployment rates in the country? It is any surprise that businesses are fleeing Illinois to surrounding states? Is it correspondingly any surprise why Illinois businesses are fleeing right next door to fourth ranked Indiana, the Hoosier State?
If Illinois expects to revive its flagging economy one of the things it will have to address is its anti-business climate of constant interference by the courts, its corruption and its incompetent court system.
Until such time, expect Illinois to stay in the bottom half of rankings in the country.