California Ranked Second in Annual "Judicial Hellhole" List
Every year since 2002, the American Tort Reform Foundation publishes a list of “Judicial Hellhole” areas in the United States. This is to identify especially egregious abuses of the civil justice system and, as the report states, “places where judges systematically apply laws and court procedures in an unfair and unbalanced manner.”
Drum roll, please: Here is the top Hellholes nationally for 2011-2012:
- West Virginia
- South Florida
- Madison and St. Clair counties, Illinois
- New York City and Albany, New York
- Clark County, Nevada
- McClean County, Illinois
Wow. So we rank below the “city of brotherly love” but above Illinois and Nevada?? Chicago is rife with corruption, and has been for years, yet our fair state ranks higher on the “Hellhole” scale? Nice.
Tom Scott, executive director of California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse points out that this report reinforces what small-business owners in California have been saying for years. He goes on to state that California has the second-highest unemployment rate, and we should focus on the legal reforms that are helping other states create new jobs.
Although Orange County didn’t make the list specifically this year, last year our county received a special mention for a class-action lawsuit…against olive oil companies. Someone felt that more than a dozen olive oil companies and distributors’ products were not as “extra virgin” as they claimed to be.
Some of the reasons that California was singled out for the list this year were the following: thousands of claims filed against restaurants and small businesses by “serial plaintiffs” for technical violations of public access laws and targeting owners who are using English as a second language or are immigrants; excessive punitive damage awards; weak class-action lawsuits; courts ignoring voter-approved laws and lack of State Bar of California discipline for attorneys that file fraudulent lawsuits.
What do you think about California’s judicial system? What have your experiences been? Are you a small-business owner who has been hit with a frivolous lawsuit? Have you had to pay out excessive punitive damages? Have you moved out of the state to start a new business because of the legal system in California? Please tell us about your story in the comments section, below.
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