Wisconsin Slips in Institute for Legal Reform’s Rankings of State Liability Systems

Rankings Drop Driven in Part by Judicial Behavior

The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) routinely conducts a survey of in-house general counsels, senior litigators, and other senior executives at companies with at least $100 million in annual revenues with recent litigation experience in each state (within the last four years). 75% of survey respondents reported that a state’s litigation environment is likely to impact important business decisions at their companies such as whether to locate or do business in the state.

Down from 15th in 2012, Wisconsin now ranks 20th overall. This drop was very disappointing given the significant reforms recently enacted in Wisconsin. As stated in the ILR Report, the Wisconsin ranking drop was driven by a poor ranking of our judiciary. Survey participants ranked Wisconsin substantially lower this year in several key areas related to judges, including on enforcement of venue requirements (nine spot drop), treatment of class actions (20 spot drop), impartiality (eight spot drop) and on competence (10 spot drop).

  • Overall treatment of tort and contract litigation – Wisconsin is ranked 21st.
  • Having and enforcing meaningful venue requirements – Wisconsin is ranked 22nd.
  • Treatment of class action suits and mass consolidation suits – Wisconsin is ranked 28th.
  • Damages – Wisconsin is ranked 17th.
  • Timeliness of summary judgement or dismissal – Wisconsin is ranked 16th.
  • Discovery – Wisconsin is ranked 17th.
  • Scientific and technical evidence – Wisconsin is ranked 19th.
  • Judges’ impartiality – Wisconsin is ranked 20th.
  • Judges’ competence – Wisconsin is ranked 24th.
  • Juries’ fairness – Wisconsin is ranked 21st.

Full survey results can be found here.