I just got my hands on some research by Steven Hantler that suggests that Oklahoma is 44th in the list states with favorable litigious climates for business. In "Risky Business, The annual boardroom guide to litigation in the 50 states", Hantler starts of by explaining the problem with trial lawyers
…the biggest competitors for capital that business has are America’s plaintiff trial lawyers. They siphon off billions of dollars that would be invested in R&D, growth, and jobs creation, or would be returned to shareholders. Trial lawyers also increase the cost of capital for those companies whose ratings are downgraded as a direct result of trial lawyer briefings to financial analysts or press conferences about their litigation portfolios—all part of the trial bar’s new business model.So Trial lawyers are bad for business? Huh, I wonder if that is why so many companies leave Oklahoma for Texas. Hantler continues to explain how trial lawyers stack the political deck
Plaintiff lawyers are among the most politically astute and media-savvy entrepreneurs in America today. For the past 20 years or more, the trial bar has outflanked business in electing tort-friendly public officials and lobbying legislators to either enact proplaintiff liability laws or block liability reform efforts. This is a major reason that today, to give just one example, in 32 states automakers cannot introduce evidence in product liability trials that a plaintiff was not wearing a seat belt. Worse yet, trial lawyers have greatly influenced the process in which judges are appointed or elected.This is what he has to say about our fair state.
Insurance loss ratios in Oklahoma are in the bottom 30 percent of all states. Sequoia County is fast becoming a class action magnet. While the Oklahoma Legislature passed comprehensive liability-reform legislation this session, it was vetoed by Governor Brad Henry despite his pledge four years ago for “Texas Plus” tort reform. Governor Henry turned his back on Oklahoma voters and also on growth and jobs creation. Attorney General Drew Edmondson is a highly activist attorney general.I think Hantler is being too negative. He freely admits that the trial bar is itself a business; so Oklahoma is not completely unfriendly to business. I choose to flip this research around. Instead of being at the bottom of states favorable to business because of our litigious climate, I choose to say that Oklahoma is among the top ten states with a favorable climate to the Trial Bar. Oklahoma trial lawyers constitute a very important businesses for Oklahoma. Seriously, ask yourself where Oklahoma would be with out trail lawyers…let's not be ungrateful!
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