BATON ROUGE — Louisiana has lost more than $2 billion due to excessive litigation, according to a new report, and a civil justice reform lobby group says the situation is leading to job losses and unpredictability for the state's consumers and businesses.
The Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch and a study by the Perryman Group says the excessive nature of the lawsuits is a sign of an "inadequately balanced justice system." The study uses Ohio as the benchmark, as the state has recently undergone significant tort reform. It finds that in Louisiana, the civil justice system is one of the leading factors contributing to the loss of jobs and revenue.
As of 2018, the yearly fiscal damages to Louisiana State revenues were estimated at $76.4 million, while the loss to local government is only slightly behind at $64.3 million.
Jim Harris, executive director of the Louisiana Coalition for Common Sense, shared his thoughts on the situation and what it means for the state in terms of jobs and the economy.
"A healthy legal system should ensure fairness for both truly impaired individuals and small and large businesses operating in Louisiana," Harris told the Louisiana Record. Imbalances in the system lead to unpredictability for consumers and businesses, costing jobs and resulting in constrained economic growth."
Damages to the state go beyond just the monetary, however, as they are also driving jobs out of the state, increasing health care costs and increasing the risks of doing business for those who stay, studies have said. The need for reform—both in limiting what can be filed as litigation and how large the awards are—has been previously raised by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform's 2017 Lawsuit Abuse Climate Survey, which ranked Louisiana 50th out of all states.