According to the Institute for Legal Reform, California can go lower – nearly to the bottom. California once again slipped further down the rankings from 44th to 46th in the ILR’s Lawsuit Climate 2010. The only states whose legal climates ranked worse than California’s are Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and West Virginia are worse. How’s that for company?
What is even sadder is that our state legislature does not seem to get it. The policy committees that could very easily push through some reform are unwilling to give legal reform a serious chance. So it is business as usual and California continues to slip further down the rankings.
It’s worth taking a look at what earned California is ranking of 46. California’s courts remain a haven for class action lawsuits. California also has a reputation for large jury awards, which adds to its lawsuit-friendly perception. The state is also a growing hot spot for asbestos litigation. Out of state attorneys continue to flock to California to benefit from the state judiciary’s favorable rules towards asbestos suits.
Another reason is that professional plaintiffs engage in legal extortion against small businesses, the continued rampage by a group of ADA lawyers running around this state suing small businesses for minor or technical violations of the ADA laws. In California there is also little to no political support to address this issue. The trial lawyers have spent millions over the last decade to make sure California is favorable to trial lawyers, not small business.
Critics will push aside the rankings by the ILR, but one thing they cannot push aside is that our state has a 12.5 % unemployment rate (and I bet you it is even higher) and a state deficit of around $20 billion. Businesses create jobs, but they cannot do so if they continue to be over-taxed, over-regulated and over-litigated. Cross posted at www.cala.com.