Corporate Lawyers Rank State Average

Wisconsin State Journal
Monday, March 27, 2006

Over the last two years, Wisconsin's climate for personal injury lawsuits has dropped from excellent to average for defendants in the eyes of corporate attorneys, according to a national survey.
Tom Donohue, the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is scheduled to be in Madison today to unveil the survey and launch a local ad campaign that aims to reverse actions by the state Supreme Court and Gov. Jim Doyle that businesses say have opened the door to harmful, job-killer lawsuits in the state.
But even before the study was released, consumer and trial lawyers' groups were criticizing it Friday, saying it exaggerates the effect of personal injury lawsuits on Wisconsin's relatively healthy economy.
The survey of 1,400 lawyers who defend companies against lawsuits found that Wisconsin's ranking dropped from 10th in the nation to 23rd over the last two years. The survey by Harris Interactive of New York asked attorneys about lawsuit factors like punitive damages, judges, and the use of scientific evidence in trials.

But Laurie Beacham, a spokeswoman for the Center for Justice & Democracy in New York, said the survey was biased against consumers since it dealt with the views of corporate lawyers and didn't try to quantify what was actually happening with lawsuits in the country.
"They want to protect all businesses from being held accountable" by lawsuits, Beacham said of the chamber's study.

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