Do You Live in a Judicial Hellhole?

Dec 14, 2012

With its beautiful beaches, beautiful people, and warm climate, what's not to like about California? It's unfair and out-of-balance civil justice system, for starters.

The Golden State is ranked #1 in the American Tort Reform Association's Judicial Hellholes 2012-2013 report. Here's the explanation of California's ranking:

California is the undisputed heavyweight champion of the consumer class action.  Its plaintiff-friendly laws spur ridiculous lawsuits against companies that sell products ranging from breakfast cereal to bagged walnuts.  California’s small businesses have been under siege from trolling disability-access lawyers and their professional plaintiffs who look for technical rules violations, then demand thousands of dollars to settle.  The state enacted modest reform this year only after a threat of federal intervention.  Los Angeles is seeing a surge of asbestos cases, as personal injury law firms from elsewhere have moved into in Southern California.  California’s limit on pain and suffering awards in medical malpractice cases, which has contributed to a stable healthcare environment for many years, is under constant attack.  Mounting cuts to the judiciary’s budget, and loss of court staff, particularly in Los Angeles, leave litigants to worry about delays and even the ability to appeal adverse rulings.

According to the study Creating Conditions for Economic Growth: The Role of the Legal Environment, completed for ILR by NERA Economic Consulting in 2011, California could save up to $5.3 billion in tort costs and create between 104,000 and 283,000 new jobs by improving its legal environment.

Lisa A. Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), had this to say about the Judicial Hellholes report:

In this time of economic uncertainty, it is particularly important for those jurisdictions highlighted in the report to pay close attention as the lawsuit climate is a crucial factor in job creation and economic growth. This year’s Harris Survey of the legal climates in all fifty states shows that 70% percent of companies say a state’s lawsuit environment is likely to impact decisions such as where to locate or expand their businesses.

The victims of lawsuit abuse are wide ranging. They just aren't big corporations; they are the small business down your street, as these video stories show. For a more comprehensive story about lawsuit scams and abuses, watch InJustice, a documentary airing on AXS TV on Tuesday, December 18 at 9pm EST.

 

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