The Big Story Blog

Minnesota's legal system good for business

Posted at 8:49 AM on December 29, 2011 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Economy, Jobs and unemployment

After taxes and government regulation, the biggest business complaint typically involves the courts. The conventional wisdom holds that liberal judges and well-heeled trial attorneys are sucking business dry with frivolous lawsuits, killing innovation and job creation.

Turns out that's largely a myth, at least in Minnesota where the business lawsuit climate is one of the best in the nation, competitive with most of its neighbors -- and significantly better than Wisconsin.

This analysis comes from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Legal Reform. This is a group unabashedly pro-business with "neutralize plaintiff trial lawyers' excessive influence over the legal and political systems" as one of its stated goals.

The group ranks states by "how reasonable and balanced the states' tort liability systems are perceived to be by U.S. business."

No matter your personal views on courts and business, here's the best-known pro-business group in the nation saying Minnesota looks pretty good, ranked 11th among states in 2010 for its pro-business legal climate.

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Wisconsin, where the governor has put up showy "open for business" signs at the Minnesota border, comes out significantly worse in the U.S. Chamber's analysis:

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Delaware, comes out as the top business-friendly courts state. North Dakota comes in second, Iowa come in fifth and South Dakota comes in tenth, just ahead of Minnesota.

The chamber scores are driven by surveys of people who work in corporate law. These are the folks who could easily blast Minnesota as the state that never met a trial lawyer it didn't like. Instead, they put Minnesota among the top in the country when it comes to business and the courts.


About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.