CHICAGO (CBS) — Business groups said Friday the business climate in Illinois is among the worst in the U.S., making it much less attractive to companies that might want to move here or stay here.

Lisa Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform, said Illinois ranks 48th out of 50 states for its lawsuit climate for businesses. She said the system seems to favor people suing companies for things such as asbestos.

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“Court rules allow for large numbers of cases to be brought to trial simultaneously, making it virtually impossible for a defendant to present an adequate defense,” she said.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Chairman Michael Ducker, who is also president and CEO of FedEx Freight, said the number of lawsuits in the courts can discourage businesses from locating in Illinois.

“Business people really want to focus on where we can expand, and create new jobs for Americans, and open new markets for U.S. businesses. It’s not productive to spend time fighting lawsuits and increased regulations,” he said.

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However, attorney Steve Phillips, former head of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, called the chamber’s study phony. He said lawsuits in Illinois are down, and he said businesses themselves are largely to blame for the number of lawsuits making their way through the courts.

“If you look at all lawsuits filed in state courts, about 6 percent are on behalf of injured people; 6 percent. About 70 percent are businesses suing businesses for money,” he said.

He also noted Illinois ranks 4th among the 50 states in the number of Fortune 500 company headquarters.

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“If this was lawsuit haven, like they’re trying to portray, wouldn’t these companies get the heck out of Illinois in a heartbeat?” he said.