South Carolina Drops To 37th in Institute for Legal Reform’s 2019 Lawsuit Climate Survey: Ranking the States

Articles, News | October 14th, 2019

September 27, 2019

South Carolina is ranked #37 in the 2019 Lawsuit Climate Survey: Ranking the States, falling three positions from 34th since 2017. South Carolina is now in the bottom fourteen states in the country in the survey conducted by Harris Poll and released by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR). Illinois’ lawsuit system was ranked as the nation’s worst in the report. This is the first time Illinois ranked dead last in the 12 edition history of the survey (it was ranked 48th overall in the previous two editions). Delaware returns to the number one spot, which it has held in all but one survey. Maine, Connecticut, Wyoming and Alaska round out the top five. Louisiana, California, Mississippi, and Florida round out the bottom five.

The survey evaluated ten key elements:

• Enforcing Meaningful Venue Requirements
• Overall Treatment of Tort and Contract Litigation
• Treatment of Class Action Suits and Mass Consolidation Suits
• Damages
• Proportional Discovery
• Scientific and Technical Evidence
• Trial Judges’ Impartiality
• Trial Judges’ Competence
• Juries’ Fairness
• Quality of Appellate Review

South Carolina ranked #43 in the key element category of Trial Judges Impartiality and #39 in the category of Trial Judges’ Competence, a 15-place decline since 2017. South Carolina also ranked tied for 40th (with West Virginia) in the category of Overall Treatment of Tort and Contract Litigation, 38th in Scientific and Technical Evidence, 35th in Juries’ Fairness, 31st in Damages, and 32nd in Proportional Discovery. Its most notable improvement was an eight-place rise to 26th in the key element category of Treatment of Class Action Suits and Mass Consolidation Suits. South Carolina ranked 16th in Quality of Appellate Review, its highest category. South Carolina also ranked 26th in Enforcing Meaningful Venue Requirements.

In addition to the rankings, a record 89 percent of respondents said a state’s lawsuit environment is likely to impact their companies’ decisions about where to locate or do business.

“The survey should be a wake-up call to policymakers that their state’s economic growth and prosperity depend in large part on the fairness and predictability of its legal system,” said Harold Kim, chief operating officer of ILR. “States like Illinois are pariahs to companies. Illinois’ lawsuit system is so bad that major tech companies are refusing to sell some of their products there.” The 2019 Survey was conducted from March 27, 2019 through June 24, 2019.

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The South Carolina Coalition for Lawsuit Reform (SCCLR) serves as the united voice for the business community on tort and workers' compensation issues; coordinating lobbying, legal, grassroots and public relations activities.