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August 3rd, 2020

Judicial Hellholes Report Mentioned in Washington Post Feature

In the July 23 “Five Myths” Outlook feature, Professor Jay Feinman’s “Five myths about lawsuits” made a passing reference to the American Tort Reform Foundation’s annual Judicial Hellholes report. Professor Feinman offered legal analysis that surely would receive a failing grade should it be submitted to him by one of his students. To rebut the . . . → Read More: Judicial Hellholes Report Mentioned in Washington Post Feature

June 24th, 2020

Federal Judge Takes Stand Against Junk Science in California

Federal Judge William Shubb ruled yesterday that California cannot require Bayer AG to label its glyphosate-based weedkiller Roundup as “known to the state of California to cause cancer.”

Regulators and scientists worldwide have deemed glyphosate safe, with the exception of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), whose study was riddled with controversy.

Judge . . . → Read More: Federal Judge Takes Stand Against Junk Science in California

June 22nd, 2020

Virginia Lawyers Plead Guilty to Extortion Charges in Case Involving Roundup

On Friday, June 19, Timothy Litzenburg and Daniel Kincheloe pleaded guilty to extortion charges in federal court in the Western District of Virginia over their roles in a scheme involving litigation against Monsanto Company over health risks associated with Roundup.

The two Virginia lawyers demanded $200 million in purported “consulting fees” from a chemicals company . . . → Read More: Virginia Lawyers Plead Guilty to Extortion Charges in Case Involving Roundup

May 13th, 2020

“Show Me Your Lawsuit” State Passes Significant Reform Bill to Curb Lawsuit Abuse

The Missouri legislature gave its stamp of approval to S.B. 591, sponsored by Sen. Bill White, amending the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (MMPA) and the standards by which punitive damages are awarded. The bill passed the Missouri House of Representatives on May 12th by a 98-51 vote. It passed the Senate on a 21-9 vote . . . → Read More: “Show Me Your Lawsuit” State Passes Significant Reform Bill to Curb Lawsuit Abuse

April 16th, 2020

6th Circuit Finds Multidistrict Litigation Must Comply with Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

ATRA applauds the Sixth Circuit’s decision in In Re: CVS Pharmacy, Inc., in which it issued a writ of mandamus in an important case regarding multi district litigation (MDL). In the decision, which was issued on April 15, 2020, the Court held that the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure apply to MDLs “just as it . . . → Read More: 6th Circuit Finds Multidistrict Litigation Must Comply with Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

February 12th, 2020

West Virginia Judge Acknowledges Abuse Fills Asbestos Docket

On February 5, 2020, Judge Ronald Wilson of Kanawha County trial court issued an order that expressly acknowledged “abuse” in his asbestos docket involving lawsuits against “questionable defendants” based on “evidence of their liability” that “amounts to a mere gable in a lawsuit.” He expressed great frustration with the failure of the plaintiffs’ lawyers to . . . → Read More: West Virginia Judge Acknowledges Abuse Fills Asbestos Docket

January 17th, 2020

Philadelphia Judge Slashes $8 Billion Risperdal Verdict

ATRA is encouraged by Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Kenneth Powell’s decision to slash the $8 billion punitive damages verdict against Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. in a single-plaintiff Risperdal case. The outsized verdict and the court’s underlying decisions were a main driver behind the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas being named . . . → Read More: Philadelphia Judge Slashes $8 Billion Risperdal Verdict

December 10th, 2019

Judicial Hellholes Abuse Nation’s Civil Justice System

A new report highlights the worst local courts and states for abuses of the civil justice system, with the Top 10 Judicial Hellholes filled with widespread civil lawsuits, legislative loopholes that create more ways for lawyers to sue, and judges who allow junk science into evidence in trials.

The 2019-2020 Judicial Hellholes report of . . . → Read More: Judicial Hellholes Abuse Nation’s Civil Justice System

October 21st, 2019

First Opioid Bellwether Trial Settles, Thousands of Cases Remain

The first bellwether trial in the opioid multi-district litigation was scheduled to begin today, October 21 in Ohio. However, prior to the start of trial, it was announced that the parties reached a $250 million settlement. The trial involved two Ohio counties – Summit and Cuyahoga Counties, which originally sought $8 billion from manufacturers, distributors . . . → Read More: First Opioid Bellwether Trial Settles, Thousands of Cases Remain

July 9th, 2019

ATRA Announces Mid-Year Addition of Oklahoma to Judicial Hellholes List

Once a national leader in enacting fair and balanced civil justice reform for plaintiffs and defendants, Oklahoma, regrettably, has become a place where pervasive liability expansion threatens to destabilize the economy.

Oklahoma’s Attorney General Mike Hunter and his litigation against pharmaceutical companies over the state’s opioid crisis have dominated the news cycles in . . . → Read More: ATRA Announces Mid-Year Addition of Oklahoma to Judicial Hellholes List

June 6th, 2019

Attorneys General Stand Up to Expansive Public Nuisance Claims

On May 17, 2019, a group of 18 State Attorneys General submitted an amicus brief in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals criticizing public nuisance claims as a means by which to hold energy companies liable for climate change. The analysis in the brief highlights the weak legal foundation upon which such claims are based, . . . → Read More: Attorneys General Stand Up to Expansive Public Nuisance Claims

May 20th, 2019

Missouri Legislature Passes Some Improvements, Disappoints on Missouri Merchandising Practices Act Reform

The Missouri legislature adjourned on Friday, May 17, 2019, ending a session filled with mixed results. The legislature should be commended for passing important reforms such as seatbelt admissibility, venue reform, and e-Discovery legislation. ATRA applauds Governor Michael Parson, Senators Ed Emery, Caleb Rowden, Tony Luetkemeyer, and Dan Hegeman, as well as Representatives David Gregory, . . . → Read More: Missouri Legislature Passes Some Improvements, Disappoints on Missouri Merchandising Practices Act Reform

May 14th, 2019

California Courts: Drop Science At the Door

A California jury sent a clear message this week when it awarded more than $2 billion in damages to a couple in the most recent RoundUp® trial – science no longer matters when it comes to the safety of a product. A good lawyer can convince a jury of just about anything.

The plaintiffs’ lawyer . . . → Read More: California Courts: Drop Science At the Door

April 25th, 2019

Minnesota Appellate Court Upholds Sanctions Against BNSF Further Solidifying “Judicial Hellholes” Designation

A Minnesota appeals court issued a disappointing ruling earlier this week when it upheld sanctions against BNSF in a toxic fumes case. The court found that BNSF engaged in “pervasive” discovery misconduct that prejudiced the plaintiff. The case originated in the Hennepin County District Court and the trial judge’s actions helped solidify the Twin Cities . . . → Read More: Minnesota Appellate Court Upholds Sanctions Against BNSF Further Solidifying “Judicial Hellholes” Designation

April 8th, 2019

Florida Bills Would Diminish Patient Privacy

Two bills moving through the Florida legislature, if enacted, will further solidify the state’s unfortunate status as a “Judicial Hellhole.” While the courts can be faulted for much of this regrettable distinction, as we chronicle in our reports, the state’s legislature can make it worse by passing Senate Bill 1700 and its companion in the . . . → Read More: Florida Bills Would Diminish Patient Privacy

December 26th, 2018

ATRA Responds to Reuters Baby Powder “Exposé”: Lawsuits Should be Based on Science, Not Fearmongering

The American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) today responded to a Reuters report that purports to show that the baby powder widely used for more than a century causes cancer. This one-sided “exposé” was clearly prepared in close consultation with plaintiffs’ lawyers, who have filed thousands of lawsuits with the hope that the sheer number of . . . → Read More: ATRA Responds to Reuters Baby Powder “Exposé”: Lawsuits Should be Based on Science, Not Fearmongering

December 4th, 2018

Supreme Court’s Adoption of Novel Theories of Liability, Abusive ‘No-Injury’ Litigation, Place California atop Latest ‘Judicial Hellholes’ List

Today, the American Tort Reform Foundation released its 2018-2019 Judicial Hellholes report. California tops the list, with Florida, New York City and St. Louis not far behind. “With both this annual report and year-round website, our Judicial Hellholes program since 2002 has documented troubling developments in jurisdictions where civil court judges systematically apply laws and court procedures in an unfair and unbalanced manner, generally to the disadvantage of defendants,” American Tort Reform Association president Tiger Joyce said. This year’s Judicial Hellholes report names the following as the nation’s “most unfair” in their handling of civil litigation: California Florida New York City The City of St. Louis Louisiana Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas New Jersey Legislature Madison and St. Clair Counties, Ill. The Twin Cities, Minn. . . . → Read More: Supreme Court’s Adoption of Novel Theories of Liability, Abusive ‘No-Injury’ Litigation, Place California atop Latest ‘Judicial Hellholes’ List

August 7th, 2018

New Jersey Supreme Court Pumps the Brakes on ‘Junk Science’ and Adopts the Daubert Standard of Expert Testimony

At long last, New Jersey will no longer be considered an evidentiary outlier that permits plaintiff’s to bring meritless cases based on junk science. On August 1, 2018, the Supreme Court of New Jersey joined the vast majority of other states and adopted the Daubert standard for assessing the reliability of expert testimony.

The decision . . . → Read More: New Jersey Supreme Court Pumps the Brakes on ‘Junk Science’ and Adopts the Daubert Standard of Expert Testimony

July 9th, 2018

ATRA Announces Mid-Year Addition of Twin Cities to Judicial Hellholes List

Troubling trends in Twin Cities courtrooms, unprincipled actions by Minnesota’s attorney general and multiple vetoes of common sense reforms by Governor Mark Dayton (DFL) have earned the Twin Cities of Minnesota the unenviable distinction of being named a rising jurisdiction on the Judicial Hellholes Watch List. There is a pervasive liability-expanding view that is spreading . . . → Read More: ATRA Announces Mid-Year Addition of Twin Cities to Judicial Hellholes List

May 29th, 2018

Disappointing Legislative Session Comes to a Close in Missouri

The Missouri Legislature adjourned on the evening of Friday, May 19, 2018, without passing significant legal reform legislation. Lawmakers gave many reasons for their failure that ranged from “we passed enough tort reform in 2017” to “we ran out of time.” These excuses ring hollow.

Among the much-needed reforms considered were venue reform, amendments to . . . → Read More: Disappointing Legislative Session Comes to a Close in Missouri