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July 15th, 2015

NEWPORT NEWS GETS RARE MIDYEAR RANKING AMONG ‘JUDICIAL HELLHOLES’

Tort Reform Group Recommends Constructive Reforms 

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 15, 2015 – In making a rare midyear adjustment to its annual “Judicial Hellholes” report, the American Tort Reform Foundation today elevated the Circuit Court for Newport News, Virginia, from the report’s less critical Watch List to the more onerous ranking as a full “ judicial hellhole.”  Newport News joins a handful of other civil court jurisdictions known as the nation’s least fair and balanced.

“Our report, released each December, has documented imbalances in Newport News asbestos litigation in the past,” began ATRF president Tiger Joyce.  “But additional research since we placed Newport News on our Watch List . . . → Read More: NEWPORT NEWS GETS RARE MIDYEAR RANKING AMONG ‘JUDICIAL HELLHOLES’

June 18th, 2015

Courts Increasingly Skeptical of Speculative Asbestos Claims

As the pool of potential claimants who’ve truly been sickened by exposure to asbestos dwindles, along with the pool of still solvent defendant companies, personal injury lawyers have filed increasingly speculative lawsuits. But many judges, to their credit, are holding the line against such claims . . . → Read More: Courts Increasingly Skeptical of Speculative Asbestos Claims

June 12th, 2015

ATRA Calls Albany’s ‘Bad Faith’ Bill ‘Another Tone-Deaf Gift to Trial Lawyers’

With former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver facing federal corruption charges in connection with questionable asbestos litigation, the American Tort Reform Association today urged Albany lawmakers to “promptly kill an insurance litigation bill that would open yet another lucrative line of business for personal injury lawyers at the expense of New York consumers and jobseekers.” . . . → Read More: ATRA Calls Albany’s ‘Bad Faith’ Bill ‘Another Tone-Deaf Gift to Trial Lawyers’

May 19th, 2015

‘Insane’ $82 Million Verdict Suggests Missouri Trial Courts Take Cues from ‘Hellhole’ of a High Court

Apparently taking cues from the Supreme Court of Missouri, currently the sixth-ranked Judicial Hellhole, a Jackson County court this month rendered what is perhaps the most absurd plaintiff’s verdict thus far in 2015 . . . → Read More: ‘Insane’ $82 Million Verdict Suggests Missouri Trial Courts Take Cues from ‘Hellhole’ of a High Court

May 19th, 2015

Indiana High Court Makes Uncharacteristic Bid for Dishonorable Mention in Next ‘Hellholes’ Report

The formerly well-regarded Indiana Supreme Court this month opted to expand significantly the “vicarious” liability of employers when employees disobey in-house policies or relevant law in pursuit of their personal interests that do not further their employers’ interests . . . → Read More: Indiana High Court Makes Uncharacteristic Bid for Dishonorable Mention in Next ‘Hellholes’ Report

May 5th, 2015

More Bad News from ‘Big Sky Country’

Continuing a troubling trend toward increasingly excessive punitive damages awards in Big Sky Country, Montana’s Supreme Court has upheld a $5 million punitive damages award in connection with an already absurdly inflated compensatory damages award of $1 million . . . → Read More: More Bad News from ‘Big Sky Country’

April 30th, 2015

Alabama Lawmakers Slap Down State’s High Court on ‘Innovator Liability’

Among many others, the Wall Street Journal today heralded Alabama lawmakers’ slap-down earlier this week of recent state supreme court decisions that embraced the both ridiculous and dangerous legal theory peddled by the plaintiffs’ bar as “innovator liability” . . . → Read More: Alabama Lawmakers Slap Down State’s High Court on ‘Innovator Liability’

April 14th, 2015

‘Litigation Imbalance’ Study Is More Bad News from Illinois, Lincoln Spinning in Grave

On the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, a civil justice watchdog group in Illinois has released its latest “Litigation Imbalance” study, the findings of which surely have the 16th president and Great Emancipator spinning in his grave . . . → Read More: ‘Litigation Imbalance’ Study Is More Bad News from Illinois, Lincoln Spinning in Grave

March 19th, 2015

NYCAL Judge Heitler’s ‘March Madness’

In denying an asbestos defendant’s motion for summary judgment, notoriously plaintiff-friendly NYCAL Judge Sherry Klein Heitler succumbed to some March madness of her own, calling the motion a “drastic remedy” and relying on testimony from a witness in an unrelated case from Maryland 14 years earlier to do so. Talk about going out of your way to please the plaintiffs’ bar . . . → Read More: NYCAL Judge Heitler’s ‘March Madness’

March 11th, 2015

Louisiana’s Corrupting ‘Buddy System’ Seemingly Back in Business, Despite Recent Reform

ATRA’s allies at Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch report that, “Despite fierce criticism from lawmakers and legal reform groups in recent years,” state Attorney General James “Buddy” Caldwell has revived his infamous “Buddy System,” continuing “his questionable practice of hiring outside attorneys to pursue litigation on behalf of the state” and giving much of this potentially lucrative business to “law firms and lawyers that have donated tens of thousands of dollars to his political campaign[s]” . . . → Read More: Louisiana’s Corrupting ‘Buddy System’ Seemingly Back in Business, Despite Recent Reform

March 9th, 2015

Charleston Daily Mail Lauds Tort Reform Inspired by a Notorious High Court Decision

An editorial in Charleston, West Virginia’s leading newspaper offers kudos to lawmakers and the governor for enactment of a tort reform law that effectively overturns a notoriously bad state high court decision that a dissenting justice said explains why the state is known as a Judicial Hellhole . . . → Read More: Charleston Daily Mail Lauds Tort Reform Inspired by a Notorious High Court Decision

March 2nd, 2015

ATRA’s New ‘Asbestos Litigation Watch’ Website Will Help Make Case for Reform

Citing recent events that have further exposed the “corruption and outright fraud that have long been endemic to asbestos litigation,” the American Tort Reform Association today launched a new website that “will document the overwhelming case for substantive reforms” . . . → Read More: ATRA’s New ‘Asbestos Litigation Watch’ Website Will Help Make Case for Reform

February 23rd, 2015

Southern Illinois Federal Court Shines Brightly in Dismissing Defendants from Non-Illinois Asbestos Exposure Claim

On February 17th and 19th, Judge Staci M. Yandle for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois granted seven motions to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction for defendants involved in a large multi-defendant asbestos case. In each claim, the plaintiff, a former Navy worker, fell far short of alleging sufficient contacts by the defendants to the state of Illinois to satisfy constitutional due process requirements. . . . → Read More: Southern Illinois Federal Court Shines Brightly in Dismissing Defendants from Non-Illinois Asbestos Exposure Claim

February 20th, 2015

Out-of-State Mass Tort Plaintiffs Again Flocking to Philadelphia, a Two-Time #1 Judicial Hellhole

As reported by the Pennsylvania Record, mass tort filings jumped 150 percent last year in Philadelphia’s Complex Litigation Center (CLC), America’s #1 Judicial Hellhole in 2010 and 2011 . . . → Read More: Out-of-State Mass Tort Plaintiffs Again Flocking to Philadelphia, a Two-Time #1 Judicial Hellhole

February 10th, 2015

Is Heat Brought by Former Speaker Silver’s Indictment Making NYCAL Judges Think Twice?

As discomfiting attention from federal prosecutors and the media rains down on asbestos judges comprising the nation’s #1 Judicial Hellhole, a runaway verdict to the tune of $190 million has now been dramatically reduced . . . → Read More: Is Heat Brought by Former Speaker Silver’s Indictment Making NYCAL Judges Think Twice?

February 5th, 2015

Good News from Pennsylvania High Court: Statute of Repose Applies to Asbestos Claims

In deciding not to hear a plaintiff’s appeal, Pennsylvania’s high court has upheld application the state’s 12-year statute of repose to asbestos claims . . . → Read More: Good News from Pennsylvania High Court: Statute of Repose Applies to Asbestos Claims

January 22nd, 2015

ATRA Calls Corruption Arrest of NY Speaker Sheldon Silver a ‘Turning Point’

A spokesman for the American Tort Reform Association today called this morning’s arrest and filing of federal corruption charges against New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver a “turning point” in the effort to combat abuses in the nation’s #1 judicial hellhole . . . → Read More: ATRA Calls Corruption Arrest of NY Speaker Sheldon Silver a ‘Turning Point’

January 14th, 2015

Citing Latest Bombshell Allegations of Trial-Lawyer Fraud, ATRA Urges Congress, DOJ to Investigate

In light of a stunning defense motion filed today in a West Virginia federal court, alleging massive fraud on the part of plaintiffs’ lawyers in their aggressive recruitment of clients for pelvic mesh litigation, the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) renewed its call on Congress, prosecutors and bar associations to investigate and prosecute those who defraud the civil justice system . . . → Read More: Citing Latest Bombshell Allegations of Trial-Lawyer Fraud, ATRA Urges Congress, DOJ to Investigate

January 13th, 2015

A Rare ‘Point of Light’ in ‘Show Me Your Lawsuits State’

Judicial Hellholes reporters have long kept an eye on St. Louis, Missouri, one of the most plaintiff-friendly jurisdictions in the nation. So in the rare instance that a judge there is willing to take even a small stand against the reflexive expansion of civil liability, it’s worthy of kudos . . . → Read More: A Rare ‘Point of Light’ in ‘Show Me Your Lawsuits State’

January 12th, 2015

MadCo: Where 1,200 Out-of-State Lawsuits is a Dip

Madison County hosted 1,300 new asbestos lawsuit filings in 2014. Madison County’s docket has doubled in the last four years and tripled in the last seven. Nine of ten plaintiffs who file in Madison County don’t live in Illinois. And less than 1% live in Madison County. . . . → Read More: MadCo: Where 1,200 Out-of-State Lawsuits is a Dip