Lawsuit reforms are good for the Texas economy, according to a recent survey of employers in the state.When asked about the business climate in Texas, 81.9 percent of respondents say that Texas' business climate is either very good or good, while 16.1 percent rate Texas' business climate as fair, and only 2.1 percent say that Texas' business climate is either poor or very poor.
The survey of Texas Association of Business members was conducted in late June. In it, employers indicated legal reforms have helped them focus on building their business.
"There is a place where employers can focus on building a business and creating jobs instead of operating in fear of a lawsuit that could force them to shut their doors," said Bill Hammond, president and CEO of the Texas Association of Business. "Texas repeatedly outranks other states as the best place to do business and for job creation, and, clearly, the lawsuit reforms that Texas legislators have passed in recent years are a major factor in our success."
Survey respondents included 282 individuals who represent a business and 27 individuals who represent a chamber of commerce. According to a press release, most of the employer respondents employ fewer than 50 employees.
When asked about the importance of lawsuit reform for the business climate in Texas, 95.6 percent of respondents say that lawsuit reform is very or somewhat important to the Texas business climate, while only 2.1 percent say that lawsuit reform is either not very important or not important at all to the business climate in Texas, and less than 1 percent say that lawsuit reform has negatively impacted the business environment in Texas.
When asked about the impact of lawsuit reform on the business climate in Texas, 88.6 percent of respondents agree that lawsuit reform has had a positive or somewhat positive impact on Texas' business climate, while 7 percent say that lawsuit reform has had no impact on Texas' business climate and 4.5 percent say that it has had a negative or somewhat negative impact.
When asked to think about the impact of lawsuit reform on a wide range of businesses operating throughout the state, respondents say that lawsuit reform generally impacts the following for businesses (respondents could select more than one):
-71 percent say lawsuit reform means that that business can focus more on products/services and business instead of liability concerns;
-64.5 percent say it makes it less expensive to operate a business;
-48.1 percent say it creates a civil justice system that is predictable; and
-46.6 percent say it means more can be invested in growing a business.
When asked about the likelihood of their business being sued today, as opposed to five years ago, 42.2 percent of respondents, said their business has about the same likelihood of being sued today as it did five years ago, while 41.9 percent report that they believe they are less likely to be sued today than they were five years ago.
"Texas once had the biggest lawsuit abuse problem in the nation," said Andy Tewell, Chairman of Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse of Central Texas (CALACTX). "Personal injury lawyers came here and bragged that they could win big money in Texas courts. Texans finally said, 'Enough!' and we fought for reforms that have restored justice in our courts. As an employer, I know that these reforms work and help create the jobs that Texas workers and their families depend upon."