GONZALES — Attendees of the recent Ascension GOP Roundtable received up-to-date information on lawsuit abuse and how it is being handled on state and federal levels.
One of the featured speakers was Melissa Landry, executive director of the legal watchdog organization Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch. The organization is dedicated to improving the state’s legal system “through transparency, accountability and lawsuit reform,” according to the organization's website. She regularly visits with citizens and community leaders about issues that impact the legal system.
“In Washington, the U.S. House of Representatives just passed a slew of reform packages that, once passed by the Senate and signed by the president, will go a long way toward curbing lawsuit abuse,” she told the Louisiana Record. “From class-action reform, to increasing transparency in asbestos litigation to imposing sanctions on personal-injury lawyers who file bogus suits — there’s a lot of great stuff happening at the federal level with broad support from Louisiana’s congressional delegation.”
However, Landry said the outlook is much different in Louisiana.
“The upcoming Legislative session will bring a number of new obstacles and challenges for Louisiana’s business and legal reform community,” she said. “During Gov. John Bel Edwards’ first year in office, we saw a dramatic increase in taxes and legal attacks — both of which have had disastrous impacts on our already weak economy.”
The stalled job market in the state also is a topic of concern.
“Over the last two years, Louisiana has lost more than 20,000 jobs, and according to some estimates, we now have the third-worst unemployment rate in the country,” Landry said. “While the rest of the country is growing, we are stuck in a recession. Our families and businesses are struggling, and yet, Gov. Edwards is still pushing policies that will create more taxes and lawsuits.”
The event was sponsored by Ascension Republic Women, and was held March 16 at the Clarion Inn in Gonzales.