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Video Exposes Tort Lawyer Racket in Louisiana

In its ongoing effort to bring attention to so-called “legacy” lawsuits in Louisiana, the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) today offers rather damning video of a plaintiffs’ “expert” teaching personal injury lawyers how to exploit the law and corrupt the civil justice system. 

As initially noted in ATRA’s 2011/2012 Judicial Hellholes® report released last December, legacy lawsuits are usually filed in rural parish courthouses, seeking millions or even billions in damages for alleged environmental harm as a result of conventional, onshore oil and gas drilling activity.  A case can remain unresolved for years, sometimes a decade, without any hard evidence of contamination being proffered or cleanup undertaken.  And rather than eventually risk a runaway jury verdict, the defendant or defendants often choose to be extorted instead — that is, to settle out of court. 

Though a 2006 reform law in Louisiana sought to obligate a significant portion of money from these lawsuits to environmental remediation, cagey Bayou plaintiffs’ lawyers often manage, with the blessings of both parish and appellate judges, to use the law unfairly for their own gain.

The recently obtained video now posted here, along with additional information about legacy lawsuits, comprises roughly two minutes excerpted from what was approximately a half-hour long presentation by W.D. Griffin, a consultant and past plaintiffs’ expert witness, to a gathering at the South Texas College of Law, Energy Law Institute for Attorneys and Landmen in 2006 when relevant Louisiana law changed.

“Not that any adult will be shocked by yet another parasitic trial lawyer scheme to get over on truly productive elements of our society and economy,” observed ATRA director of communications Darren McKinney, “but we hope this latest smoking-gun evidence may prompt a groundswell of support for reform-minded Louisiana policymakers who understand how important energy producers are to their state’s economy.”

McKinney said ATRA has put up a regional banner ad on the (see nearby screenshot) to help drive would-be video viewers to its Hellholes website and is otherwise happy to work with interested reporters and producers seeking additional context.

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