California is the No. 1 “judicial hellhole” in America, the American Tort Reform Foundation concludes in its annual, end-of-year report on alleged abuse of the legal system.. 1 “judicial hellhole” in America, the American Tort Reform Foundation concludes in its annual, end-of-year report on alleged abuse of the legal system.
This is the first time the state grabbed the top spot; last year, it was second to Philadelphia.
Reasons why the honor went to California? It’s “the undisputed heavyweight champion of the consumer class action,” says the report, released Thursday.
California attracts class action and asbestos lawsuits, allows exploitative disabled access lawsuits and fraudulent slip-and-fall cases, and decimates the court system through budget cuts — while the plaintiffs’ bar relentlessly tries to overturn reasonable limitation on damages in medical cases, the foundation concludes.
“The fact that businesses view California as the worst legal environment in the nation tells us that other jurisdictions are making improvements and that California can’t afford to just stay the same,” Kim Stone, president of the Civil Justice Association of California, said in a news release. “Meritless lawsuits clog our overburdened and underfunded court system, making it harder for truly injured people with valid cased to get their day in court.”
The foundation compiles significant court rulings and legislative actions for the report, and surveys members of the American Tort Reform Association for feedback. The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit is dedicated to reforming the American civil justice system. Members are mostly large corporations and trade associations.
“Consider the source,” said J.G. Preston, a spokesman for trial lawyers and their own association, Consumer Attorneys of California. “The ‘judicial hellhole’ designation comes from companies that want to keep you from taking them to court.”
The tort reform association is funded by corporate giants the likes of Exxon Mobil, General Electric, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Nationwide, the group said.
“ATRA once again is proving to be the Grinch that stole Christmas when it comes to consumer protection and preserving basic legal rights,” Brian Kabateck, president of Consumer Attorneys of California, said in a news release. “Big business simply doesn’t trust the purest form of democracy — our courts with citizen juries. Unless, of course, they’re the ones filing the lawsuits.”