Since 2012, Montana’s state liability system has improved from 45th in the country to 7th overall this year, according to a biennial report released by the Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The ILR recently released its 2019 Lawsuit Climate Survey, which included its ranking of the states. Montana ranked higher than Idaho and South Dakota, but was ranked below Wyoming (No. 4) and North Dakota (No. 6). Moving up 20 spots since the 2017 survey, Montana experienced the largest jump of any state.

“We are excited about Montana’s rise in this legal environment ranking,” said Bridger Mahlum, government relations director of the Montana Chamber of Commerce. “It’s a reflection of our work to achieve a legal system that consistently follows the rule of law. The Montana Chamber will continue to serve as a leading voice in this policy arena for years to come.”

The Montana Chamber and its Justice Coalition have delivered positive results for the state’s legal climate that influenced this ranking. Recent victories for justice include the passage of legislation to amend judgement interest laws, in addition to the Montana Chamber’s participation as an amicus party in the landmark BNSF v Tyrrell decision.

According to the ILR survey, 89 percent of respondents reported that a state’s litigation environment is likely to impact business decisions such as where to locate or do business. Survey respondents evaluate each state based on overall treatment of tort litigation, damages, venue enforcement, and more. Montana now ranks among the top five legal climates for damages, proportional discovery, and scientific and technical evidence.

The survey, based on feedback from general counsel, senior litigators/attorneys, and senior executives, reflects the attractiveness of each state’s legal climate when it comes to conducting business.


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