Companies like Missouri's tort reforms

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Monday, March 27, 2006

Missouri's legal system is no longer one of the 10 worst for businesses, thanks to legislation passed last year that limits civil lawsuits, according to a poll of corporate lawyers released Monday by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Illinois' legal system, however, remains a member of that club, the Chamber said.
The poll, known as the 2005 Harris State Liability Systems Ranking Study, is based on the views of 1,400 corporate lawyers throughout the country. The study, now in its fifth year, questions attorneys about each state's legal system and the impact on business. Responses are used to rank states from best to worst, with Delaware ranked No. 1 and West Virginia at the bottom.

"It's cheerleading for corporate America's special interest," said Keith
Hebeisen, president of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association. "Consider the messenger. Consider the message. They are just trying to get more rules in their favor."
Jack Carey, a Belleville lawyer who will be president of the Illinois State Bar Association in 2008, said the report was "perpetuating a lie" about the state's legal system. "There is no basis in fact for what they are claiming," he said.
The Center for Justice and Democracy, a public interest group that opposes tort reform, called the report "dishonest" and "unfair."
"The U.S. Chamber seems utterly unconcerned with either protecting the health and safety of Illinois residents or with being honest about the actual business climate of Illinois, which is, in fact, strong and growing," said Amber Hard, staff director of the Center for Justice and Democracy-Illinois.

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