Citing Louisiana’s fall in the 2016 Chief Executive magazine Best and Worst States for Business ranking, the nonprofit Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch says the state’s reputation as a “judicial hellhole” is costing it thousands of jobs at a time when they’re most needed.
“This is not the reputation we want to have with executives who can bring billions of dollars in new investments, increase job opportunities for struggling workers and lower costs for working families,” says Melissa Landry, LLAW’s executive director, in a letter to a number of local media outlets.
Chief Executive magazine released its annual ranking in early May. The magazine asked 513 CEOs to rank states on workforce quality, regulatory tax burden and living environment.
In 2015, the CEOs surveyed ranked Louisiana No. 7 overall, but the state tumbled 30 spots overall this year to No. 37. Chief Executive magazine attributed Louisiana’s tumble to its budget disaster and quoted an anonymous CEO as saying Louisiana has an awful litigious environment and that Gov. John Bel Edwards intervening in oil and gas lawsuits doesn’t help Louisiana’s litigious environment.
“If we want to change this perception, we have to shut down the Louisiana lawsuit lottery,” Landry says, adding a select group of personal injury attorneys are abusing the court with meritless claims.
Landry doesn’t identify the attorneys, but says examples can be found on TV ads and billboards featuring attorneys promising “hundreds of thousands of dollars to plaintiffs who want to get rich quick.”
Landry also says the proliferations of meritless lawsuits is suffocating Louisiana’s business environment by further increasing the cost of doing business in the state.
“From legal defense costs, to the time spent away from business operations, to the lost opportunity to reinvest in equipment or hire a new employee—the costs of excessive litigation are real,” she says. “Simply put, the more time and money employers spend on fighting frivolous lawsuits, the less time and money they can spend on creating jobs.”