BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) — The American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) has once again added Louisiana to its list of “judicial hellholes,” this time ranking the state fifth-worst in the nation. It’s the eighth year in a row that Louisiana has made the list.
While the state was singled out for its attempt to reform the civil justice system in the Louisiana Legislature, a study conducted by The Perryman Group found Louisiana loses $1.9 billion in annual gross product output due to “excessive tort costs.” The state loses around 19,800 jobs and its citizens lose around $1.2 billion annually in personal income. This results in a hidden “tort tax” of more than $400 per person.
The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) called Louisiana’s legal climate “toxic” and seemed to mostly agree with ATRA’s findings.
“While we’re pleased Louisiana’s landmark legal reform effort at the Legislature was singled out as positive progress, ATRA’s report is a clear reminder that we have much work to do in ensuring our legal system, including our courts, is a fair and level playing field for all involved,” said Lauren Chauvin, LABI’s Director of Civil Justice and LABI’s Judicial Program. “Continuing this work is critical for economic opportunity in Louisiana, most notably – as the report points out – for our oil and gas sector and the chilling ripple effect coastal lawsuits have had on all of us, to the tune of 2,000 jobs and $70 million in earnings lost. We’ll continue this push, but it’s only part of what makes Louisiana lag in terms of our legal climate. We must work to modernize our judiciary to be the transparent, accountable, ethical branch of government we need in order to ensure equal justice for all citizens.”
Among the factors that contribute to Louisiana’s bad rankings are:
- High auto insurance rates and staged trucking accidents
- Coastal litigation draining the state economy
- Trial lawyer advertising statewide
- Judicial misconduct and lack of transparency