A business-backed national group has once again labeled Louisiana a “judicial hellhole,” claiming the legal climate costs the state’s economy billions.
The American Tort Reform Foundation expressed “cautious optimism” that Gov.-elect Jeff Landry will be more sympathetic to its views than Gov. John Bel Edwards, though Landry, like Edwards, was elected with significant support from trial lawyers.
Louisiana has been on the ATRF’s annual list for more than a decade, checking in at No. 7 on this year’s version. Among its complaints is Edwards’ veto of legislation that would have required disclosure of third-party litigation funding.
“Without these disclosure requirements, the financial interests and influence of third-party funders likely will remain hidden from courts and juries,” the group says in a statement announcing this year’s list.
In his veto message, Edwards called the proposal a pretense to give large corporations and insurance companies a litigation advantage, adding that it would have required only plaintiffs to disclose their financing arrangements.
“The only beneficiaries of this would be wrongdoers who can simply outlast victims because they have greater financial resources,” he argued.
The ATRF also cited ongoing litigation that seeks to hold oil-and-gas companies responsible for environmental damage to Louisiana’s coastal region, among other issues. Lawsuit abuse costs residents more than $1,100 per resident annually while depriving the state of almost 50,000 jobs, the group claims, adding that changing the legal system could add more than $5 billion to the state’s gross product.