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California ranks 47th in the nation in its courts' "fairness and reasonableness" regarding business lawsuits, according to a poll conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Legal Reform.

Not only is the state's legal climate as a whole ranked fourth worst in the nation, just ahead of Mississippi, Louisiana and West Virginia, but Los Angeles County has the second worst lawsuit climate among local jurisdictions and San Francisco fourth worst..Delaware, the legal home of many major corporations, ranks No. 1 in business legal climate.

The rankings are based on a survey of corporate general counsels and senior attorneys, conducted by Harris Interactive.

The annual survey has been conducted for the past decade, and California's standing has declined during that period. The survey report called California courts "havens for class action lawsuits because judges certify cases for trial that wouldn't be certified in most other parts of the country." It noted that the largest asbestos verdict in the nation this year - $48 million for one plaintiff - came in a Los Angeles jury trial.

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