I have been getting the kids ready for our yearly move. Because the annual American Tort Reform Association legal hellhole list is about to come out. I'm sure they are hoping that it will be in a warm and fun place to live. What could be better than a road map to the land of milk and honey?
Actually, most people ignore the list and the rest of us laugh at it. In 2009, when Minnesota got a dishonorable mention it was for ridiculous reasons. Seems that, at best, it's a great press release for tort reformers to shake their fists at.
Looking at this years list we have:
– Illinois making again with a number of counties being singled out for Asbestos litigation. Last year, Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis pointing out that they made the list despite "Less asbestos cases were filed this year than last year" — (2009-814 cases; 2010-650 cases) — a significant amount.
– Louisiana was added, primarily because of one case.
– West Virginia was number three despite the report saying that " West Virginia’s high court reached well-reasoned decisions this year when interpreting its consumer protection law and upholding the limit on subjective pain and suffering damages in lawsuits against healthcare providers." That really sounds like a great place for a plaintiff.
– Texas was found to be both a "point of light" and a place of concern, primarily due to of "loser pays" laws and fear that federal courts are being efficient.
– Philadelphia (a city that gets singled out) was number one again due to having a court that is identified to handle tort cases. Which seems odd, because that is a regular suggestion that comes up to help with the heavily burdened court in most states. I guess with all of the criminal and family law cases blocking up the dockets, they want the ability of the defendants to starve the plaintiff out. A specialty court doesn't work for deny, delay, and defend defendants.
One little extra point is who funds this list? Looks like a great bunch of corporate citizens. Philip Morris, Dow Chemical, Exxon, General Electric, Aetna, Geico, State Farm, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Nationwide.
Responsibility and accountability must look like hell.
A founding partner with Bradshaw & Bryant, Mike Bryant has always fought to find justice for his clients—knowing that legal troubles, both personal injury and criminal, can be devastating for a family. Voted a Top 40 Personal Injury "Super Lawyer" multiple years, Mr. Bryant has also been voted one of the Top 100 Minnesota "Super Lawyers" four times.