By Joao-Pierre Ruth | NJ BIZ

October 7, 2010

The New Jersey Lawsuit Reform Alliance on Thursday called on the state to support tort reform, a move the alliance said would help small businesses in the state.

Marcus Rayner, executive director of the alliance, pointed to results from a poll conducted by Monmouth University that reveal small businesses in the state are terrified of lawsuits. In the absence of reforms, Rayner said, small businesses are willing to raise their prices and not hire new employees in order to cover their legal expenses.

“New Jersey is a dangerous place for them, in the absence of reform,” he said.

The study, conducted in July by the Monmouth University Polling Institute, interviewed 405 owners and senior managers from small businesses in the state with up to 50 employees.

According to the study, one in five small businesses in the state have had a lawsuit filed against them by a client or customer in the past five years, and one in three believe it’s more likely than not that they will be sued within the next five years. Some 64 percent said lawsuits are a problem for New Jersey’s overall business climate.

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