Survey: Voters say there are too many 'meritless' lawsuits

Jessica Karmasek Nov. 4, 2010, 7:48am


WASHINGTON - The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) released a national survey Thursday that reveals 88 percent of voters who cast ballots in Tuesday's election believe there are too many "meritless" lawsuits.

The Madison County Record is owned by the ILR, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The ILR survey also found that eight in 10 people want the next Congress to "continue reforming the legal system."

The poll was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies for ILR and surveyed 1,000 voters on election day.

The findings, the institute says, reflect the electorate's overall concerns about the direction of the country and the status of the economy.

"On election day, voters sent a clear message to their elected leaders: enact policies that will create jobs and grow the economy," Lisa A. Rickard, president of ILR, said in a statement.

"The results of this poll show that voters understand the high economic costs of lawsuit abuse and support pro-growth legal reforms," she said.

Lawsuits do impact economic growth, according to results from a September national survey of small business owners.

Ninety-three percent of the business owners surveyed at the time viewed frivolous lawsuits as "a serious problem," and seven in 10 said a lawsuit would hamper their ability to hire new employees.

Other findings from the ILR survey include:

- By a 20-point margin, voters believe trial lawyers have "excessive" influence in Washington;

- By contrast, 98 percent of voters said small business views should be taken into account in Washington, while only 45 percent believe they are currently taken into account;

- By a seven-to-one ratio, voters said they would be more likely to reelect their Congressional representatives in the future if they voted for reforms to end lawsuit abuse by trial lawyers;

- And two-thirds of voters said they would have a more favorable view of the new Republican majority in Congress if their agenda included ending lawsuit abuse.

According to its website, ILR seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative, political, judicial, and educational activities at the national, state and local levels.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

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