Anti-lawsuit group again calls Louisiana a 'judicial hellhole'

The Center Square
Tuesday, December 10, 2019

A national group that advocates for civil defendants has once again labeled Louisiana a “judicial hellhole.”

Louisiana is ranked fourth on a list of ten “hellholes.” The list, released annually, is subjective and unscientific and is meant to draw attention to various jurisdictions and governmental entities that the American Tort Reform Association believes are “radically out of balance” in favor of civil plaintiffs.…

Baton Rouge attorney Bob Kleinpeter responded to last year’s list on behalf of the Louisiana Association for Justice, which represents trial lawyers. He said Louisiana’s judicial system is “one of the finest anywhere in the world” and called the report an “outrageous and offensive” attempt to erode Louisiana residents’ confidence in the courts.

“This Judicial Hellhole report is financed by out-of-state special interests who want to protect those who have polluted Louisiana’s land and water and violated its rules,” Kleinpeter said. “This ‘report’ is created each year but it is not worth the paper it is written on.”

ATRA says its membership is “diverse and includes nonprofits, small and large companies, as well as state and national trade, business, and professional associations.”

“ATRA's members are largely Fortune 500 companies with a direct financial stake in restricting lawsuits,” according to the Center for Justice and Democracy, which advocates for plaintiffs. “Members have included representatives of the tobacco, insurance, chemical, auto and pharmaceutical industries. Corporate giants like Philip Morris, Dow Chemical, Exxon, General Electric, Aetna, Geico and Nationwide have all supported ATRA.”

The Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas was ranked as the worst “hellhole” in the country. California and New York City were listed second and third respectively.

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