The American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) released today its new judicial report produced by its Foundation that highlights the worst local courts and states for abuses of the civil justice system. The 2019-2020 Judicial Hellholes Report (see full report at: Judicial Hellholes), shines a light on this year’s top abusers of the civil justice system and state legislative bodies, as well as listing areas on the cusp of becoming a Judicial Hellhole, while identifying several troubling legal trends that are emerging. Tiger Joyce, ATRF president points out that: “Litigation abuse drives up insurance costs and drives away jobs, and the money businesses spend fighting often-frivolous lawsuits takes dollars away from research and development of new consumer products.” [CIRT has been a long-time member and supporter of ATRA].
Report Flags Emerging Civil Litigation Trends:
The 2019-2020 Judicial Hellholes report also identifies several worrisome areas emerging in civil litigation including an increase in local governments filing local lawsuits to address national public policy issues, legislation seeking to ban arbitration, and new data privacy liability concerns.
- Trial lawyers pitch their services to local governments and convince them to sue over public concerns, resulting in a flood of lawsuits creating legal chaos and confusion. These lawsuits attempt to solve national public health concerns like the opioid crisis, climate change and vaping.
- In 2019, a myriad of laws expanding employment liability were enacted in states across the country, including four bills in California, Illinois, New Jersey and New York which seek to ban arbitration in the employment context.
- California’s Consumer Protection Act and Illinois’s Biometric Information Privacy Act contribute to a regulatory patchwork of data privacy laws in the U.S. These “no-injury” lawsuits are not new, but they are becoming more prevalent and are imposing significant costs on legitimate businesses offering useful services — all without enhancing consumer privacy.
Voicing his misgivings, Joyce noted: “National and global problems cannot be solved through litigation in local courts.”