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March 31st, 2011

Q1 Updates on Once and Future ‘Judicial Hellholes’

The once Golden State of California’s leaden economy continues to sink under the weight of heavy taxes, burdensome regulation and enervating litigation.  This op-ed by California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse executive director Tom Scott tells of yet another corporate decision to leave the state, as a feckless governor and lawmakers beholden to trial lawyers let the state slide closer to bankruptcy. 

Meanwhile, like so many weeds, lawsuits are still strangling healthy growth in the Garden State of New Jersey, too.  New Jersey Lawsuit Reform Alliance executive director Marcus Rayner, in his own recent op-ed, explains that the state’s “unemployment rate remains among the highest in the region” because of, “most notably, the exodus of large employers and the crumbling of small and mid-sized businesses. But the legal beatings that our courts have bestowed on New Jersey’s businesses also haven’t helped.”

Refreshingly, the neighboring Keystone State’s legislature in Harrisburg appears poised to pass significant tort reform measures in order to lay a foundation for a stronger economic future.  And as recently reported by the Lehigh Valley Express-Times, doctors and hospitals also support tort reform in the state that’s home to Philadelphia, the nation’s #1 Judicial Hellhole.  In fact, St. Luke’s Hospital in Allentown isn’t waiting for legislation; it’s brought two of its own lawsuits against personal injury lawyers it says “filed medical malpractice suits . . . while knowing they were frivolous, with the hopes of receiving a settlement.”

Similarly meritless lawsuits have long been the chief source of gloom for Sunshine State health care providers, too.  Thus, according to the Gulf Coast Business Review, lawmakers in Florida, home to a perennial Judicial Hellhole, are working to tighten the state’s existing caps on noneconomic damages in medical liability lawsuits brought by Medicaid patients.

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