Florida’s lawsuit climate hit an all-time low, sinking to number 44 out of the 50 states according to a national survey released Wednesday by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform.
The number 44 ranking is a dip from Florida’s number 41 ranking last year and continues a downward trend from the state’s number 33 ranking when the poll began in 2002. Delaware took the top spot in the ranking, with Vermont and Nebraska close behind.
According to ILR, the low rank is due to the Florida Supreme Court negating many of the legal reforms passed by the Legislature, including safeguards on medical malpractice damages and strictures on “bad faith” insurance lawsuits.
Florida’s scorecard included number 45 rankings for its treatment of tort and contract litigation, how the state handles class action lawsuits, the timeliness of summary judgments and awarding of damages. Florida came in as the number 39 state for judge impartiality, which was the state’s highest-ranking across the poll’s 11 categories.
City and county courts were also ranked and rated in the survey, with Miami-Dade County sandwiched between San Francisco and Philadelphia on the list of least fair local courts.
The nationwide telephone survey, conducted by HarrisPoll, solicited responses from 1,203 in-house general counsels, senior litigators and executives with experience in litigation for companies with annual revenues over $100 million. Their responses were given scores, and an overall average was computed to rank the states.