Judicial Hellholes 2011/2012

The annual Judicial Hellholes report has just been released by the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA).

Civil courts in Philadelphia top the list for the second year in a row, as “litigation tourism† is actually encouraged by some judges, according to ATRA:

Philadelphia hosts a disproportionate share of Pennsylvania’s lawsuits and, as demonstrated by this report, forum shopping for plaintiff-friendly courts within the state is primarily a “Philly phenomenon.†

Meanwhile, civil justice problems throughout California and West Virginia, earned them second and third place rankings respectively, while auto-accident fraud racketeers put perennial judicial hellhole South Florida in fourth place.

Madison and St. Clair counties in Illinois, return to fifth place in the rankings this year as recent civil justice reform efforts there appear to have stalled.

New York City and Albany, New York; Clark County, Nevada; and McLean County, Illinois round out the list of the worst judicial hellholes in the nation.

But it’s not all bad news.

ATRA notes that this year’s report, more so than any other in the past, also emphasizes a boom in good news at the state level, with nearly 50 positive tort reform laws enacted in more than 20 states through 2011.

In the words of ATRA president Tiger Joyce:

As anemic economic growth and high unemployment continue to plague much of the country, many governors and state legislators were determined to make their states more competitive and attractive to employers. A variety of tort reform measures figured prominently in these policymakers’ pro-growth, job-creation agendas.†

However, the report also highlights several additional jurisdictions that bear watching due to troubling developments or their histories of lawsuit abuse.

On this year’s watch list are: the Eastern District of Texas; Cook County, Illinois; Southern New Jersey; Atlantic County, New Jersey; Franklin County, Alabama; Smith County, Mississippi; and Louisiana.

The full report is available here.

Check out I.I.I. facts and statistics on litigiousness.

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