MISSISSIPPI MOVING UP IN LITIGATION CLIMATE RANKINGS ACCORDING TO DIRECTORSHIP MAGAZINE

Once ranked among the five worst states for liability climate, Mississippi has moved up in position – from 49th in the Harris poll to 33rd in Directorship Magazine’s annual composite standings – and is forecasted to move even higher.

“I am very pleased that we’re making strides to change our once tarnished image as a state with an unfair legal system,” Governor Haley Barbour said. “We are still reaping the benefits of the ‘Tort Reform Act of 2004.’ Our legal climate is changing for the better and business leaders are changing the way they look at our state. No longer is lawsuit abuse draining Mississippi’s economy and job creation efforts or threatening our quality and access to healthcare.”

The magazine points out that although Mississippi’s composite ranking is low, it is a state in transition. “Mississippi is clearly a state to watch because of Governor Barbour’s continuing efforts to make the state attractive for growth and job creation.”

“Previously “Mom and Pop” business owners were fearful of being one lawsuit away from bankruptcy,” said Ron Aldridge, Mississippi State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business.
“Our state is no longer a national dumping ground for these legal proceedings which clogged up our court dockets and slowed down justice for our own residents.”

“Being known as the home of Jackpot Justice hurt every single Mississippian, whether it was through access to medical care or loss of employment. Our state is now America’s number one reformer and it is easy to see the benefits in areas like healthcare and economic development,” said Lex Taylor, chairman of Mississippians for Economic Progress. “We are delighted that the nation is now seeing Mississippi in a new light.”

Premium reductions and refunds provided to Medical Assurance Company of Mississippi (MACM) insured physicians over the past several years offer proof that the hard work in passing civil justice reforms was time well spent, said MACM’s president and CEO, Michael D. Houpt. “We applaud Governor Barbour and the Legislature for their hard work in passing the ‘Tort Reform Act of 2004.’ The physicians of Mississippi continue to benefit from this leadership.”

Directorship Magazine used three indicators for its annual review of state litigation climates – Hantler-Weighted Variable Index, Pacific Research Institute, and the Harris Poll. The magazine’s 15,000 members/readers are comprised of savvy boards, chief executives and general counsels who consider state liability climates when making crucial decisions about expansion and investment.

Proposed by Governor Barbour and passed by the Legislature, the “Tort Reform Act of 2004” has resulted in common sense legal reforms, such as – allowing affordable medical malpractice insurance for healthcare providers, promoting job creation, industry expansion and a business-friendly climate in Mississippi. Reforms included improving the areas of joinder and venue, placing caps on non-economic damages, and revising the punitive damages cap.

Governor Haley Barbour Press Release
7/10/7