'Lawsuit abuse climate' driving jobs out of state, harming state's future, think tank CEO says

By John Breslin | Jul 19, 2018

Louisiana continues to be a challenging state when it comes to solving problems with the judicial landscape, according to the the chief executive of a New Orleans-based free market think tank.

In a downbeat assessment of the state of play in Louisiana, Daniel J. Erspamer, of the Pelican Institute for Public Policy, said jobs are leaving for places like Texas and Tennessee due to the claimed "lawsuit abuse climate."

And Erspamer cited the example of the Bassmaster Classic leaving the state, which has an impact on jobs and tourism dollars.

"Litigation and tort cases have an important role to play in our legal system, but the abuse of those systems is detrimental to our state’s future," he told the Lousiana Record.

Erspamer believes Gov. John Bel Edwards must shoulder some blame for the problems, but he also mentions one recent unsuccessful legislative attempt to introduce basic reform "that would have helped the auto insurance crisis in the state was killed in the Senate Judiciary  Committee."

He added, "Until we have leadership in Baton Rouge that truly understands the negative impact of excessive and abusive litigation, I’m afraid the many costs and consequences that directly impact job creation will continue."

Erspamer believes there will be little change until the "special interests control" many of the levers of power.

"There is certainly broad support for reform within the legislature, and we are continually working to inform lawmakers with facts and data they need to make good decisions," Erspamer said.

" But there is no question that special interest groups have invested tremendous resources and political capital to uphold the status quo."

He believes reform will arrive in Louisiana, but suspects it will not happen in the near term, during which he argues "reform advocates" must lay the ground work.

Erspamer wants these people to "share solutions, and persuade citizens and opinion leaders that these are the right solutions to create a fair playing field and bring jobs back to the Pelican State."

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