A majority of New Jersey’s small business owners want the Legislature to address legal reform, according to a Rutgers-Eagleton survey


And business owners in the Philly suburbs are the most likely to be taken to court.


The survey found that the majority of New Jersey’s small business owners aren’t happy with the state’s culture of litigation:


  • 84% of those surveyed rate the state’s business climate as “fair” or “poor,” and an astounding 87% say they want the Legislature to prioritize legal reform.
  • 24% of businesses statewide have been threatened with litigation in the past five years, but that number jumps to 40% among South Jersey businesses.
  • Overall, 1-in-4 South Jersey small businesses have actually been brought to court during the past five years.  The chances of courtroom litigation also increase with a business’s longevity and growth.
  • Two-thirds of South Jersey businesses saw an increase in their liability insurance premiums during this time period, even if they haven’t been sued.


Marcus Rayner, NJCJI’s president, released the following statement:


“It’s clear that New Jersey’s liability laws put the state at a disadvantage,” said Marcus Rayner, president of the New Jersey Civil Justice Institute.  But that disadvantage is exacerbated if a business happens to operate in the suburbs of Philadelphia.”


“Every time a lawsuit is filed against one of New Jersey’s small businesses, every business’s insurance costs threaten to rise.  Business owners are telling us that even if it’s not their business being sued today, they still might incur costs and will need to make judgments about where to invest their business’s resources.”


“This is not the kind of restraint we ought to have in a state with a 9.2% unemployment rate.  When 87% of small business owners in a state want change, it’s time for the Legislature to act.”


The survey was conducted by the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University.