The Watercooler ~ America's Judicial Hellholes

Returning from a short sabbatical brought on by — among other things — growing weary of too many negative reports on the state of my state, California, I stumbled upon an interesting report from the American Tort Reform Association that ranks the six most egregious judicial hellholes in the U.S. each year.

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, California ranks at the top of the list for 2013-14.

The litigation system [in California] effectively imposed a $33.5 billion hidden tax – or $883 per resident – just for the costs of lawsuits settled thus far in 2013, reported Orange County Register columnist Joseph Perkins. “Most California residents are blissfully unaware of the tremendous toll lawsuit abuse has on the state,” he observed.

A partial explanation follows which explains further why so many businesses choose not to do business in California:

With a legislature that is seemingly run by and for personal injury lawyers and a wildly permissive judiciary, California remains ignominiously atop the Judicial Hellholes list for a second consecutive year. The once-Golden State continues to be a breeding ground for consumer class actions, disability-access lawsuits and asbestos claims, while also serving as something of a last-stand for a stubborn nuisance of a liability theory…As Tom Scott, executive director of California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, wrote in an online column, “The legal climate is as critical to whether a business stays in a state or relocates” because “a single abusive lawsuit can cost a company tremendously.”

For those who aren’t accustomed to factoring in lawsuit abuse as a major factor impacting the cost of everything, the report on California is an eye-opener. Ranking number two on the list is Louisiana followed by New York City, then West Virgina, with both two counties in Illinois – Madison and St. Clair and South Florida in fifth and sixth place.

The Watercooler is always an open thread.