ATRA Releases Judicial Hellholes Report

December 6, 2018

The American Tort Reform Foundation released its 2018-2019 Judicial Hellholes Report earlier this week. The report highlights nine jurisdictions, courts and legislatures that were the “most unfair,” with California topping the list. “California judges and legislators expand liability at almost every given opportunity,” American Tort Reform Association President Tiger Joyce said. “This year, the court adopted ‘innovator liability,’ a novel and expansive theory concocted by the trial bar that has been rejected by more than 35 state and federal courts around the country. It holds brand-name drug manufacturers responsible for injuries caused by a generic drug, and serves only to disrupt innovation and hamper investment,” said Joyce.

In addition to California, Florida, New York City and St. Louis are not far behind, and a few jurisdictions in the Midwest made the list. Joyce stated, “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.”

Iowans should be relieved that Iowa is not on the list. ABI has advocated for civil liability reform and has had some proactive pieces of legislation get signed into law in the last few years. Please contact a member of the ABI public policy team if you see concerning trends in your court of jurisdiction or have a civil liability issue you believe needs to be addressed in the Legislature.