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December 17, 2007

Report Shows Lawsuit Abuse Still a Major Problem in Many Jackpot Jurisdictions

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform President Lisa A. Rickard issued the following statement on the Judicial Hellholes 2007 report released today by the American Tort Reform Foundation (ATRF):

“The Judicial Hellholes report is further evidence that lawsuit abuse remains a serious problem in some jurisdictions.  The identification of the entire state of West Virginia, as well as smaller jurisdictions in Florida, Texas and Illinois, as havens for frivolous and unfair litigation corroborates the low rankings these states received in the 2007 ILR/Harris State Liability System Ranking study, and we appreciate ATRF’s ongoing efforts to call attention to them.

“The inclusion of south Florida and the two south Texas regions as the two worst hellholes demonstrates that even when a state passes significant legal reform—as Texas did in 2003 and Florida did in 2006—lawsuit abuse will continue unless the courts apply the new laws as the legislature intended.  On the other hand, the movement of Madison County, Illinois (a focus of ILR’s problem states program since 2003) out of the hellhole category shows that responsible judges can work toward restoring balance and fairness to the civil justice system.  

“The identification of new jackpot jurisdictions in New Jersey and Nevada serves to underscore the resilience and innovativeness of the plaintiffs’ bar.  Although legal reform efforts have resulted in progress in some places, this report demonstrates there is an ongoing need to make judicial and legislative changes that will help level the playing field in these jackpot jurisdictions.”

The report is available online at www.atra.org/reports/hellholes/.

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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