Judicial Hellholes, the Report

By December 16, 2008Briefly Legal

The American Tort Reform Association today released its “Judicial Hellholes” report, highlighting the jurisdictions where arbitrarily practiced caprice distorts the rule of law and raises costs to business, consumers and taxpayers.

From the news release:

Washington, DC, December 16, 2008 — The American Tort Reform Foundation today released its annual Judicial Hellholes® report, naming some of the nation’s “most unfair civil court jurisdictions,” including perennial “Hellholes” West Virginia, South Florida and Cook County, Illinois; relative newcomers Clark County, Nevada, and Atlantic County, New Jersey; as well as Los Angeles County, California, and Alabama’s Macon and Montgomery counties, which are returning to the unwanted spotlight after respective absences.

The report also cites several “Watch List” jurisdictions that are on the cusp – “they may fall into the Hellholes abyss or rise to the promise of Equal Justice Under Law” – in the Rio Grande Valley and Gulf Coast of Texas; the once notorious Madison County, Illinois; Baltimore, Maryland; St. Louis (the City of), and St. Louis and Jackson counties, Missouri. Also noted less severely as “other areas to watch” were Orange County, California; St. Clair County, Illinois; Madison, Wisconsin; Seattle, Washington; New Orleans, Louisiana; Santa Fe, New Mexico; and the states of Minnesota and Oklahoma.

“Lawsuit abuse continues to have a negative impact on the nation’s economy, as well as particular state economies,” began ATRF president Tiger Joyce. “Every dollar spent defending against a speculative lawsuit is a dollar that won’t be spent on research and development, capital investment, worker training or job creation. Unfortunately for those living in Hellholes jurisdictions during this economic downturn, it can be that much harder to find or keep a job and get critical health care services as employers and doctors are driven away by the threat of costly litigation.”

Lots of very good, very interesting observations and analysis. To read the entire report in .pdf (3 MB), go here.

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