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California's legal climate is among worst for business, survey says

September 10, 2012 |  9:45 am

Many California lawmakers know that the state is seen as unfriendly to business, so they focused in the just completed legislative session on issues that included reducing frivolous lawsuits against businesses. But a new national survey says that the state's lawsuit climate for businesses is among the worst in the nation.

The survey of business attorneys and leaders released Monday by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform found California with the 47th worst lawsuit climate among the 50 states. The survey asked business executives to rank states based on their overall treatment of tort, contract and class-action litigation, as well as the impartiality and competence of their judges and the fairness of their juries.

Among local jurisdictions, the survey said, Los Angeles courts were viewed by business executives as the second worst in the nation for legal fairness. Courts in San Francisco were listed as the fourth worst.

Seven out of 10 business executives who responded to the survey said a state's lawsuit environment would likely affect important business decisions at their company, including where to locate or expand.

"As our economic downturn has continued, a growing percentage of business leaders have identified a state's lawsuit climate as a significant factor in determining their growth and expansion plans, and the jobs that come along with them," Lisa A. Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, said in a statement. "That makes the consequences of this survey even more significant to the economic growth of California."


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