Survey: Kentucky's Lawsuit Climate Ranking Hits All-Time Low

Record High 85 Percent of Business Leaders Say a State's Lawsuit Environment Impacts Location, Growth Decisions

September 12, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Kentucky’s lawsuit climate ranked number 42 out of 50 in a new national survey released today by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR). However, Gov. Matt Bevin and the state legislature have made tort reform a priority, passing key reforms that lay the groundwork for raising the state’s rank in future surveys. This effort comes at a critical time—an all-time high 85 percent of survey participants said that a state’s lawsuit environment is likely to impact their company’s decisions about where to locate or expand.

2017 Lawsuit Climate Survey: Ranking the States surveyed senior business executives on their experiences with state lawsuit environments.

“Kentucky’s legal climate is in transition,” said ILR President Lisa A. Rickard. “Though it hit a low point in this year’s survey, the legislature’s new pro-business majority and Gov. Matt Bevin deserve credit for beginning to turn things around.”

Kentucky enacted several legal reforms in early 2017. These included lowering the interest rate paid on awards after a judgment, and establishing medical review panels to help unclog the courts of meritless lawsuits.

Up until this year, there had been little legal reform in Kentucky, and the few reforms that were passed by the legislature were often nullified by the state Supreme Court.

Harris Poll, a global polling firm, conducted the 2017 Lawsuit Climate Survey through more than 1,300 telephone and online interviews between March 31 and June 26, 2017. Participants were senior business lawyers and executives in companies with annual revenues of at least $100 million. The survey asked participants to rank the fairness of state lawsuit environments across 10 categories including their laws, courts, judges, and juries.

To promote the survey, ILR is conducting a national public awareness campaign. The national and key state online and broadcast ads can be seen here.

In tandem with the survey, ILR today released 101 Ways to Improve State Legal Systems, listing key legal reforms that states can adopt to improve their lawsuit climates.

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.