Poll shows large majority of voters call lawsuit abuse a problem

Christina Stueve Hodges Aug. 21, 2012, 11:44am


A newly released poll from the American Tort Reform Association and a grassroots "Sick of Lawsuits" campaign shows many voters believe lawsuits hurt economic growth.

Eighty-nine percent of American voters call lawsuit abuse a "problem," – a view common among party lines, the poll showed.

The poll indicated that 94 percent of Republicans, 89 percent of Independents and 86 percent of Democrats say it's a problem.

"Clearly, voters understand that we have a litigation problem," said Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch Executive Director Travis Akin in a press release.

"Now, it is time to do something about it. Voters going to the polls in November need to make sure people seeking office support need lawsuit reforms."

Lawsuit abuse is not evenly spread across the country, according to Akin. Illinois is ranked the 6th worst state for legal fairness, according to a report from the Harris polling company. Other Midwest states, including Wisconsin and Minnesota have improved their legal climates by approving legal reforms, but Illinois lawmakers continue to ignore the state's litigation problems.

Akin also said that acknowledging a litigation problem is a first step.

"Voters in places like Illinois have to do more than just admit lawsuit abuse is an important issue," he said. "They have to hold their elected leaders accountable."

Akin said voters need to also look beyond legislative races and cast informed votes in judicial elections.

"Good judges do matter," Akin said. "Voters need to educate themselves about who is on the ballot in judicial races and cast informed votes. If we are going to improve Illinois' legal environment, then it is imperative we have judges who are willing to put an end to the abuses we see so often in certain judicial districts here in Illinois."

Other findings in the poll showed that:

- Seventy-eight percent of people believe the U.S. has too many lawsuits.

- Sixty percent believe lawsuits filed against business have hurt the U.S. economy.

- Eighty-eight percent want safeguards put in place to protect small businesses from groundless lawsuits that could put them out of business.

- Seventy-two percent believe the country's liability lawsuit system makes it harder for employers to do business and succeed.

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