The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today gave Pennsylvania the lowest ranking yet on its annual rating of state civil litigation systems.
Pennsylvania came in 40th out of 50 in “Lawsuit Climate 2012,” down six spots from 2011.
The commonwealth’s drop is due largely to complaints about Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas.
The survey ranked Philadelphia’s courts as the fifth worst in the country, a ranking the institute highlighted by picking Philadelphia as the site for its news conference releasing the national report.
Philadelphia is routinely chosen by out-of-state plaintiffs seeking a friendly venue for class-action lawsuits, the report charged.
“Nearly half of all asbestos cases and more than 80 percent of pharmaceutical cases filed in Philadelphia were from out-of-state plaintiffs,” the institute said.
The survey, published by the chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform, is based on interviews with more than 1,100 business lawyers and executives.
Pennsylvania could reduce costs to business by $1.7 billion “translating to as many as 90,000 new jobs,” through tort reform, the institute said. Seven out of 10 business leaders consider a state’s civil litigation climate a “significant factor” in location and expansion decisions, the report said.
A number of groups joined the U.S. Chamber at its news conference: