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Trials & Litigation

Calif. again tops ‘judicial hellholes’ list

Posted Dec 17, 2013 4:00 PM CDT
By Mark Hansen

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For the second year in a row, California tops the American Tort Reform Foundation's "Judicial Hellholes" list.

The Golden State took top honors for the "welcoming stance" its courts take toward consumer class actions and its "rampant lawsuits" targeting small businesses over disability access claims, Forbes reports.

The list (PDF), which Forbes describes as an "unashamedly pro-defendant look" at the nation's judicial system, also includes, in descending order: Louisiana; New York City; West Virginia; Madison and St. Clair counties in Illinois; and South Florida.

Another 10 places have been named to this year's "watch list."

"Dishonorable mentions" were granted to seven jurisdictions for "singularly unsound court decisions."

California earned the top spot for having a legislature that is "seemingly run by and for" personal injury lawyers and a "wildly permissive" judiciary, ATRA says.

"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," it says.

ATRA has been compiling the annual list, which is designed to document developments "in places where judges in civil cases systematically apply laws and court procedures in an unfair and unbalanced manner" since 2002.

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