CHARLESTON – A national tort reform group commended the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's survey on legal climates, noting the similarities to its own report issued in December.

The American Tort Reform Association on Wednesday commended the Chamber's Institute for Legal Reform/Harris Interactive survey that ranks West Virginia as having the worst legal climate in the nation.

"The Mountain State also ranked as the very worst in our most recent Judicial Hellholes report," ATRA President Sherman Joyce said, referring to ATRA's annual flagship publication which similarly cites some of the least fair civil justice jurisdictions in the country. "Citizens in West Virginia must understand that the election of bad judges and an infamous attorney general give their state a very poor reputation among business decision makers.

"While it isn't the only factor companies consider when determining where they'll build a new headquarters, plant or store and thereby create new jobs, the litigation climate of a state or county is a major factor."

Joyce also said there are more similarities between the two reports.

"The ILR's ranking of individual counties and cities this year also comports with our Hellholes report," he said. "Cook and Madison counties in Illinois, South Florida's Miami-Dade County, and Los Angeles and San Francisco were each cited in one way or another by both ATRA and the Chamber.

"Our methodologies vary, of course, but there is much we agree on when it comes to identifying the jurisdictions in which 'equal justice under law' is hardest to come by."

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