Kansas Falls 14 Spots in National Legal Ranking Survey
Cost of Litigation and Liability Insurance Expected to Increase
TOPEKA, KS - Kansas saw the ranking of its legal climate plummet in the recent U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform's (IRL) 2019 Lawsuit Climate Survey. Kansas fell 14 spots from its 2017 ranking of 18 to the 32nd most favorable legal climate in the nation. As recent as 2007, Kansas ranked as the fifth best legal climate in the nation.
"Watching the Kansas legal climate continue its negative slide into the bottom half of states is extremely concerning to the Kansas business community. It also should worry our state leaders and all Kansans," said Alan Cobb, President & CEO of the Kansas Chamber.
The IRL conducts its legal survey every two years in partnership with the renowned polling firm, The Harris Poll. The organization questioned more than 1300 senior business executives about the fairness and reasonableness of state court systems. A record-high 89 percent of IRL survey participants said a state's lawsuit environment is likely to impact their company's decisions about where to locate or do business.
The study also found that every household in Kansas paid $2,471 into the state's tort system in 2016.
"Given the Kansas Supreme Court's recent ruling in Hilburn v. Enerpipe Ltd which eliminated caps on noneconomic damages, the cost of litigation on Kansans will almost certainly go up," said Cobb. "That ruling threw out more than 30 years of how Kansas has approached insurance. All Kansas citizens - families, senior citizens, small business owners - will foot the bill through higher insurance premiums as liability becomes more unpredictable for insurance carriers to plan for and to provide."
Cobb continued, "For the sake of all Kansans, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly and the Kansas Legislature should set politics aside and work to restore what used to be a sound and reasonable legal climate in Kansas. If they fail to act, the state's legal climate will decline further, encouraging lawsuit abuse and allowing Kansas to become a trail-lawyer haven."
Click here to read the full IRL survey results.