The American Tort Reform Foundation (ATRF) released its annual Judicial Hellholes report, shining a bright spotlight on “America’s worst jurisdictions in which to face a lawsuit.”
Three counties in Illinois were named again as well as entire state of West Virginia, South Florida, Southeast Texas, the statement said.
American Tort Reform Association President Sherman Joyce explained to a gathering of reporters in Washington that “Judicial Hellholes are places where judges systematically apply laws and court procedures in an unfair and unbalanced manner, generally against defendants, in civil lawsuits.
“What many will find interesting about this year’s report is that the top six Hellholes are in states that recently enacted significant tort reforms, yet a handful of judges are either ignoring those reforms or otherwise abusing their discretion to distort cases in favor of plaintiffs.”
Joyce acknowledged that the Judicial Hellholes 2006 report “cites some repeat offenders, but we also single out some first-timers on our ‘Watch List’ and among the ‘Dishonorable Mentions.’ And the report’s ‘Points of Light’ include several jurisdictions that have considerably improved civil justice, particularly when it comes to containing scandalous asbestos litigation.”
ATRA general Counsel Victor Schwartz noted that the fifth annual Hellholes report highlights several important trends. “Overall, the type of extraordinary and blatant unfairness that sparked the Judicial Hellholes project and characterized the report over the past few years has decreased across-the-board,” Schwartz said. “This improvement is a shared result of shining the spotlight on litigation abuse and the wise corrections by both the judicial and legislative branches of state governments.
“Thanks to actions by some local judges and rulings by the Illinois Supreme Court,” continued Schwartz, “perhaps the most encouraging improvement can be found in perennial Hellhole Madison County.”
“But make no mistake, the danger of regression persists and is very real,” Schwartz cautioned. “New leadership at the organization formerly known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America has pledged to undertake a massive political and public relations campaign. We’re already seeing a post-election effort to rollback reasonable reforms and undermine the fairness and predictability of our civil justice system. Expect personal injury lawyers to fight for expansions of liability with so-called ‘consumer protection’ lawsuits and public nuisance actions, among other troubling tactics.”
Source: American Tort Reform Foundation
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