See The American Tort Reform Association's "Judicial Hellholes"

Devil Fire Costume

It is no urban myth that some courts are more plaintiff-friendly than others. 

Whether some of these areas should be referred to as “hellholes” is of course another matter.

But, the American Tort Reform Association has released its annual list of “Judicial Hellholes®.” (We love that this is a registered trademark.) The full report, including “Watch List” areas, is here (PDF).

Clearly this is an association with a particular point of view, but whether you are a member of the plaintiffs’ Bar or only find yourself on the defensive side of things, it’s interesting to see who they choose.

It is less amusing, we imagine, for the judges in these jurisdictions. Though, to be fair, they likely take the lists of all kinds of associations with a grain of salt.

We’ll let you judge for yourself if the reasons given make these locales deserving of a Hellhole® label.

Click here for the American Tort Reform Association’s Judicial Hellholes >

South Florida

Why the ATRA says its on the list:

  • Home of
  • Reputation as place to bring slip-and-fall lawsuits due to 'lower burden of proof as compared to other states
  • Florida allows 'those who drive under the sue the automobile manufacturer for failing to prevent their injuries by designing a safer car, while hiding from the jury the driver's responsibility for the crash.'

West Virginia

Why the ATRA says its on the list:

  • The state's 'unique lack of appellate review'
  • Local plaintiffs' advantage of 'locally elected judges...against out-of-state corporations'
  • The 'close relationships' between the plaintiffs' bar and the state attorney general

Cook County, Illinois

Why the ATRA says its on the list:

  • Host to 65% of the state's lawsuits, but only 41% of its population
  • Lawsuits have included 'claims that a dolphin at a zoo splashed spectators' and that 'a camp is responsible for deaths of teenagers who took a late night joy ride on its boats.'

Atlantic County, New Jersey & Beyond

Why the ATRA says its on the list:

  • A 'centre for mass tort actions' against 'pharmaceutical manufacturers'
  • Suits have included allegations 'that hot dog makers should warn' that the food 'increases the risk of cancer.'

New Mexico Appellate Courts

New York City

Why the ATRA says its on the list:

  • NYC spent more money 'settling slip and falls, medical malpractice, car accident and school-related claims than the next five largest American cities combined.'
  • A 'personal injury lawyer' serves as Speaker of the New York Assembly

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