Group Criticizes ‘Judicial Hellholes’ Report, Calls It Propaganda

December 21, 2011

The American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) recently released its annual report on “judicial hellholes.” It’s a list of jurisdictions that ATRA sees as having unfair, out-of-balance civil justice systems that attract plaintiffs from across the country.

But there are many people who don’t see eye-to-eye with ATRA’s findings. A major trial lawyers’ group says the list should be taken with a big grain of salt.

The American Association for Justice says “this year’s edition of the report was basically the same recycled report from previous years that has been debunked and ridiculed for lacking any apparent methodology and for being little more than corporate propaganda.”

“The organization that produced this document, the American Tort Reform Association, is bankrolled by major insurance, tobacco, and drug companies. The report serves as an early holiday present for their corporate funders,” said Michelle Widmann, a spokesperson for the Washington, D.C.-based American Association for Justice. Founded in 1946, the group is now the world’s largest trial bar.

The trial lawyers group says companies that donate to ATRA are “who’s who” of corporations with the most to gain by shutting the courthouse doors on consumers.

The group also says there have been a number of errors in the report over the years. It says that in some cases, ATRA focused on the initial verdict without looking at the eventual settlement amount.

“Despite receiving millions in corporate cash, ATRA continues to produce the same stale, recycled report year after year,” says American Association for Justice president Gary Paul.

ATRA defended its report, saying that if American Association for Justice president Gary Paul actually took the time to read ATRA’s 42-page Judicial Hellholes report, it is clearly more influential than his criticism suggests, and if he didn’t read it, then his criticism is knowingly unfounded.

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