WASHINGTON, D.C. — Louisiana has the worst legal climate in the nation, according to a survey released this week.
The survey, dubbed the "2017 Lawsuit Climate Survey: Ranking the States," was conducted by Harris Poll and was accompanied by a video by Faces of Lawsuit Abuse, a project of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, which owns this publication.
"Louisiana, you're one of the worst," the video said. "Awarding ridiculous sums of money for junk lawsuits. Some of your politicians are hiring their trial lawyer friends to file cases while doing nothing to pass legal reforms."
The Pelican State came in behind 48th-ranked Illinois and 47th-ranked California. Louisiana's ranking in the latest poll, which was first conducted in 2002, is a first and all-time low for the state, which edged out Missouri this time, which ranked 49th.
“Louisiana’s lawsuit climate has hit rock bottom,” Lisa A. Rickard, president of the Institute for Legal Reform, said. “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.”
The survey ranked Louisiana "dead last" in the poll's 10 categories, including judges’ competence and impartiality, jury fairness and the quality of its appeals process, according a statement by the institute. The survey also ranked New Orleans and Orleans Parish as the nation's fourth worst lawsuit jurisdiction.
"Over the years, judicial misconduct has plagued Louisiana’s courts," the Institute for Legal Reform said in the statement. "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."
Survey participants included 1,203 in-house general counsels, senior litigators or attorneys and other senior executives at companies with annual revenues of at least $100 million who said they knew about litigation matters, according to the survey.
Participants were reached through more than 1,300 telephone and online interviews between March 31 and June 26, which asked for rankings on topics such as fairness of a given state's lawsuit environments in 10 categories, including state laws, courts, judges and juries.
The institute also issued the 2017 edition of its "101 Ways to Improve State Legal Systems," a listing of key legal reforms that states can adopt to improve their lawsuit climates.
The U.S. Chamber's Institute for Legal Reform 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.