Louisiana Record

Monday, August 19, 2019

Lawsuit abuse is wreaking havoc on Louisiana working families, Pelican Institute says


By Carrie Bradon | Oct 25, 2018

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A recent report by the Perryman Group on the Louisiana Watchdog website says excessive litigation is costing the state dearly – more than $2.5 billion in annual costs in addition to loss of more than 15,000 jobs, and the Pelican Institute believes these costs are harming those who call Louisiana home for a number of reasons.

"If you drive down any interstate in Louisiana, it is quickly evident that over-litigiousness has become commonplace in our state," Daniel Erspamer, CEO of the Pelican Institute told the Louisiana Record. "What billboard after billboard promoting trial attorneys and their promises of easy money don't tell you, however, is that lawsuit abuse is directly hampering our ability to attract jobs and opportunity in Louisiana."

The majority of civil litigations are tort lawsuits, in which individual who allege injury as seeking monetary damages, and the need for tort reform, therefore, remains high. Tort reform would require the civil justice system to place limits on allowing individuals to file lawsuits or limit the amount of damages that could be awarded. 

Erspamer said the litigation costs and lawsuit abuse are "wreaking havoc on Louisiana working families and job seekers."

Additional lawsuit abuse exists in the form of local governments joining with for-profit attorneys in order to file public nuisance lawsuits, which may be nothing more than frivolous lawsuits, Watchdog.org explained. Opioid-related lawsuits lead to higher insurance premiums, costing families more money just to maintain their health care coverage, as well.

While there are many arguments regarding how to fix the broken system, the Pelican Institute believes that the only way to actually breathe new life into the economy is to work to create a better legal system. 

"If we truly want to help secure access to quality jobs and strengthen the economy for working families in our state, we must prioritize legal reform," Erspamer said. 

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