Iowa business leaders this week touted a survey that found more than 82-percent of their industry group members think the state has a legal climate that hurts job growth. But Brad Lint, spokesman for the Iowa Trial Lawyers Association, says the survey represents perception — not reality.
Lint says there’s no evidence our legal climate or the legal system hurts job growth in Iowa. To the contrary, he says, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in an annual report through its Institute for Legal Reform, ranks Iowa in the top five states with a legal climate friendly to the corporate community.
The business group has asked the state’s lawmakers to impose limits on the damages” for “pain and suffering” that can be awarded in lawsuits. But Lint says there’s no sign of a correlation between caps on damage awards and lower insurance rates for businesses.
“The evidence is mixed,” Lint says. “There are states that don’t have a cap on damages where the rates are lower than states that have capped damages. And there are states that have damage caps that have higher rates, so it’s just a very mixed situation.”
Critics of the attempt to link consumer lawsuits with insurance costs point out that insurance companies invest their premiums, and in years when the stock market takes a beating they’ve been most likely to raise rates, regardless of the number or size of damage awards.