Survey: Louisiana's Lawsuit Climate Ranked As Nation's Worst

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

September 12, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. — For the first time, Louisiana’s lawsuit climate ranked 50th – the worst in the nation – according to a new national survey released today by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR). Louisiana had ranked 49th in the four previous surveys.

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

This perception of Louisiana’s poor litigation climate is critical—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.

“Louisiana’s lawsuit climate has hit rock bottom,” said ILR President Lisa A. Rickard. “The state’s long history of litigation abuse and the questionable integrity of its courts hurt everyone by holding back more robust job growth and investment.”

Over the years, judicial misconduct has plagued Louisiana’s courts. In 2016 alone, judicial misconduct cases resulted in fines, suspensions, and resignations of at least five different judges. Several of these cases were for repeat offenses.

Louisiana also has a long history of pay-to-play arrangements in which elected officials reward campaign contributions by plaintiffs’ lawyers with big-money contracts to sue businesses at taxpayer expense.

Louisiana ranked dead last in three of the 10 categories in the survey, including for its judges’ competence and impartiality, the fairness of its juries, and the quality of its appeals process.

New Orleans/Orleans Parish also ranked as the fourth worst lawsuit jurisdiction in the nation.

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.