The 2014-2015 Judicial Hellholes report shines its brightest spotlight on seven courts or areas of the country that have developed reputations as Judicial Hellholes. Several have become or continue to be hotbeds of asbestos litigation, even though the U.S. has passed its epidemiological peak for mesothelioma, and even as civil courts and lawmakers in much of the rest of the country grow increasingly skeptical of a lawsuit industry that relentlessly generates new claims in Judicial Hellholes and elsewhere. This skepticism is being fueled by mounting evidence of manipulation and even outright fraud.
But asbestos litigation and the jurisdictions that attract a lot of it comprise only a fraction of this year’s report. Permissive courts willing to entertain sometimes preposterous consumer class actions, rogue judges willing to disregard the authority of the other two branches of government, steadily spreading disability-access lawsuits that cynically target small businesses that can’t afford to defend themselves in court, state attorneys general contracting with private-sector personal injury lawyers to pursue their self-interest instead of the public interest, the trial lawyers’ major advertising investment aimed at what they hope will be the next product-liability bonanza, and many other issues all receive attention.
#1 this time is New York City, so honored for its mishandling of asbestos litigation
#2 is the entire state of California, which had been #1 on ATRA’s list for the past two years (the state’s drop to #2 is emphatically not an indication that the situation in California has gotten any better: it hasn’t)
#3 is West Virginia’s Supreme Court of Appeals
#4 is the Florida Supreme Court
#5 is Madison County, Illinois, the home of much of the Nation’s asbestos litigation
#6 is the Missouri Supreme Court, a newcomer to the list
#7 is the whole state of Louisiana
For the entire report go to http://www.judicialhellholes.org/
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