BATON ROUGE — The Pelican Institute for Public Policy says while Louisiana businesses have been a center of interest for trial attorneys across the country, the real victims are citizens of the state.
"Louisiana businesses have been in the crosshairs of trial attorneys from all over the country, but the true victims are the citizens of the Pelican state, Pelican Institute Vice President Emily A. Davenport said in an interview with The Louisiana Record. "Lawsuit abuse, along with other tax-and-spend policies supported by the current administration, has landed Louisiana the title of 'worst economy' in the country."
Davenport said jobs and opportunity continue to flee Louisiana at an alarming rate, which causes those left behind to question the status quo.
Louisana Lawsuit Abuse Watch (LLAW) contends that the "tax-sue-and-spend policies" "weakening our already struggling state economy," according to Louisana Watchdog.
Emily A. Davenport
Louisiana’s coastline is eroding—as quick as the size of a football field every 48 minutes, according to recent data.
Lousiana Watchdog claims many of the state's coastal parishes could be underwater by 2100 without levees.
There have been many coastal-focused lawsuits filed against oil and gas companies over the last few years that blame the companies for the erosion.
LLAW Executive Director Melissa Landry told Louisiana Watchdog that class actions were intended to benefit and protect consumers, however, they often don't.
Back in May, a letter was written to the presidents of two of Louisiana's largest oil and gas trade associations, in which Gov. John Bel Edwards informed the associations they needed to work together or spend years in litigation.
"We are struggling to pay for our state’s Master Plan to restore the coast," he said in the letter. "I intend to be involved in all facets of the state’s coastal restoration efforts – including those efforts to secure funding for the Master Plan. ... At this point, we have two choices – work together toward an amicable solution or spend years in litigation. There should be no doubt that it is in the best interests of Louisiana and the industry to choose the former option."
Louisana Flood Protection Board (LFPB) filed the first of the coastal lawsuits and alleged that energy companies were digging canals in marshes that caused the coastline to erode.
That lawsuit was dismissed in 2015 when a federal judge ruled that LFPB had no avenue to bring about the suit. The suit was appealed, but a federal appeals court also agreed with the federal judge.
LFPB also requested for the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case, but it was denied.
Edwards' legal team then sought for coastal parishes and municipalities to file a total of 43 lawsuits in state courts regarding the same issue. His legal team even offered to provide legal services.
The energy companies alleged that everything it did was permitted by the permit it had been issued.
Attorney General Jeff Landry filed a lawsuit against the Corps of Engineers, arguing that when it was constructing the Intracoastal Waterway, it was to preserve a servitude that was created to build and maintain the waterway. Landry claimed the Corps failed to do this and has caused severe erosion.