Ann Maher Sep. 10, 2015, 7:15am


CHICAGO - Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner will join the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) this afternoon to announce results of the Harris Poll which shows the state's legal climate at an all-time low ranking.

The study places Illinois at number 48 out of 50; only Louisiana and West Virginia fared worse in a report titled "2015 Lawsuit Climate Survey: Ranking the States."

According to the study, 75 percent of senior company attorneys surveyed say that a state’s lawsuit environment is likely to impact important business decisions at their company, including where to locate or expand. That is an 18 percent increase from eight years ago, and an all-time high, the ILR states in a release.

Participants in the survey were comprised of a national sample of 1,203 in-house general counsel, senior litigators or attorneys, and other senior executives at companies with at least $100 million in annual revenues.

More than a third of the survey respondents identified Chicago / Cook County or Madison County as the city or county court with the “least fair and reasonable litigation environment for both defendants and plaintiffs” in the entire country.

Over the past few years, Madison County has become the nation's busiest asbestos court with suits being filed on behalf of persons from all over the country. In fact, more than 90 percent of all plaintiffs in Madison County asbestos cases reside outside of Illinois.

In its press release, the ILR pointed to a law signed by outgoing Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn that lifted a time limit on filing certain asbestos cases, which could attract even more cases to the state. The legislation significantly increased the number of parties that can be held liable for asbestos related exposure, including supervising architects, design engineers and public school boards.

Rauner, a Republican in his first year of office, has been locked in a budget battle with Democratic legislators who have resisted his agenda that includes venue reform. 

Findings in the Harris Poll also showed that Illinois ranked beneath every bordering state including: Indiana (18), Iowa (4), Kentucky (39), Missouri (42), and Wisconsin (20).

Harris Poll, a global polling firm, conducted the 2015 Lawsuit Climate Survey through telephone and online interviews between March 9 and June 24. The respondents were more than 1,200 general counsels and senior attorneys or leaders in companies with annual revenues of at least $100 million.

See the entire 50-state list and read a full copy of the 2015 Lawsuit Climate Survey online at: http://www.instituteforlegalreform.com/states.

(Editor's note: The Madison-St. Clair Record is owned by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform).

Organizations in this Story

Governor Bruce Rauner
301 S 2nd Street
Springfield, IL 62707

Illinois General Assembly
301 S 2nd Street
Springfield, IL 62707

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