Oil and Gas Association chief calls for end to 'unnecessary litigation'

By Carrie Bradon | Nov 13, 2018

Questions are being raised with calls for reform since Louisiana ranked as the 8th worst state in the nation for frivolous lawsuits, excessive judgments and other legal abuses. 

That's the word from Gifford Briggs, president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, about the legal climate in the state due to what he describes as "unnecessary litigation."

Briggs commented on the excessive litigation and cost to the state, businesses and individuals, as all sorts of entities look for relief from the high tort-related costs. Industry professionals and experts are calling for tort reform to bring into check unbridled lawsuits often claiming personal injury and negligence and demanding excessive payouts to settle.

"Unnecessary litigation and excessive tort have caused investors to look elsewhere when seeking future expansions, stifled the productivity of the oil and gas industry, and given our home state the tag of a litigious hellhole," Briggs told Louisiana Record, referring to the American Tort Reform Association's assessment of the state's legal situation. 

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Groups such as the Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch and Louisiana Coalition for Common Sense have made the same observation as Briggs, which is that companies are taking their business to friendlier states, such as Texas and Tennessee, where they are more free to operate with fewer fears about the lawsuit culture and what it might cost. The only reasonable response is to bring reform to the current broken system.

"The endless pursuit of pocket filling settlements are being carried out at the expense of Louisiana’s future," Briggs said.

Additional costs to the economy include high auto insurance and poor infrastructure.

Currently, the statistics regarding the litigious climate estimate that more than 15,500 jobs are lost a year as a result and $1.1 billion is spent per year in related costs.

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