Directorship magazine and the American Justice Partnership Foundation have released the 2008 Boardroom Guide to State Legal Climates, with a memorable title, "Dire States." The article is written by Steven B. Hantler, AJP's Chairman and former Chrysler assistant general counsel.
The article highlights the next big threat from the trial lawyers.
[There'] the danger of the "litigation trifecta." The first stage was asbestos lawsuits, the longest running mass-tort category in history. The second stage was the $265-billion national tobacco settlement between states and tobacco companies. The R&D arm of Trial Lawyers Inc. hopes to cash in on the third stage of the trifecta: global climate-change litigation. If the plaintiffs' lawyers hit the "litigation trifecta," U.S. tort costs could soon exceed Russia's GDP of $1.2 trillion.
To which we say, nyet.
The issue also carries a story on the global warming litigation, focusing on the suit by the Alaskan village of Kivalina against energy companies for conspiring to use their First Amendment rights. Or something like that. Which provides an opportunity to link to AJP's report, "The Most Dangerous Litigation in America: 'Kivalina.'"
UPDATE (10:55 a.m.): The chart of the rankings of 50 states is available here. Tennessee comes in as No. 1, and Illinois drops from 46th to 50th. West Virginia makes progress to No. 49.
These rankings always have an element of subjectivity to them, but still provide a pretty good sense of which states have a balanced legal climate absent the capriciousness that scares away investment. And justice.