And the Judicial Hellholes Are…
December 17, 2008
- West Virginia
- South Florida
- Cook County, IL
- Atlantic County, NJ
- Montgomery and Macon Counties, AL
- Los Angeles County, CA
- Clark County, NV
These are the worst jurisdictions in America for companies that find themselves on the receiving end of a lawsuit – the true “judicial hellholes”– according to the just-released rankings for 2008 by the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA).
Judicial Hellholes aren’t simply courts that are unusually challenging for corporate defendants. They are “magic jurisdictions” where “trial lawyers have established relationships with the judges” and, for companies, “it’s almost impossible to get a fair trial if you’re a defendant” because “any lawyer fresh out of law school can walk in there and win the case … it doesn’t matter what the evidence is.”
Those aren’t the observations of ATRA or some other legal reform supporter. They represent the refreshingly candid, but chilling assessment of a trial bar insider, someone who knows a thing or two about winning big judgments in tilted courtrooms – none other than Dickie Scruggs who is now wearing an orange jumpsuit after pleading guilty to bribing a Mississippi judge, but not before exploiting his “magic jurisdictions” to rake in billions in legal fees.
ATRA president Tiger Joyce points out that “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.” Absolutely! But given today’s economic turmoil, when every company is cutting back, those stakes has been raised: Now every dollar that goes into the pocket of some greedy trial lawyer is also a dollar that can’t be spent to keep a worker on the payroll.
ATRA’s annual judicial hellhole reports have probably done as much as any single piece of research to spotlight trial lawyer abuse of our legal system. The 2008 report also includes two new sections: Tort Deform, which looks at efforts by the trial bar to reverse critical legal reforms in many states and a Rogue’s Gallery, which exposes particularly egregious examples of trial lawyer fraud, deceit and dishonesty and calls Congress to account for failing to investigate the scandalous behavior that pervades the trial bar.
As always, Judicial Hellholes 2008/2009 is must reading for anyone concerned about how trial lawyers abuse our legal system for personal gain while destroying good companies and undermining our economy.