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December 12, 2006

New Report Shows Need to Curb Lawsuit Abuse in Jackpot Jurisdictions

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform President Lisa A. Rickard issued the following statement on the Judicial Hellholes 2006 report released today by the American Tort Reform Foundation (ATRF):

“This Judicial Hellholes report is further evidence that the legal system is badly broken in some jurisdictions, and we commend ATRF for their ongoing efforts to call attention to them. Their branding of jurisdictions in West Virginia, Florida, Texas and Illinois as havens for lawsuit abuse corroborates the low rankings these states received in the 2006 ILR/Harris State Liability System Ranking study.

“The inclusion of the two south Texas regions and south Florida demonstrates that even when a state passes comprehensive legal reform – as Texas did in 2003 and Florida did in 2005 – lawsuit abuse may continue if the new laws are not applied as intended. On the other hand, the movement of Madison County, Illinois from hellhole to purgatory shows that responsible judges can help restore balance and fairness to the civil justice system.

“The rapid spread of lawsuit abuse into other parts of the country is perhaps more disconcerting to legal reformers than the persistence of traditional jackpot jurisdictions. The resilience and inventiveness of the plaintiffs’ bar is demonstrated by the spread of abusive litigation into San Francisco and Miller County, Arkansas. The need to make judicial and legislative changes that will help level the playing field in jurisdictions identified in the report has never been greater.”

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The mission of the Institute for Legal Reform is to make America’s legal system simpler, fairer, and faster for everyone. The U.S. Chamber is the world’s largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.

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