BENTON – In an article posted on shreveporttimes.com, Robert Mills, who is running for the state Senate in District 36, said lawsuit abuse cost the nation $429 billion, with Louisiana’s portion, $7 billion, making up one of the largest percentages of any state.
Mills said the burden amounts to more than $4,000 for each Louisiana family. The high cost of lawsuit abuse is not new, he said, but the reason it continues to plague the state and its citizens is linked to a litigious culture.
“It’s a serious problem in Louisiana and I hope that more people begin paying attention to it,” Mills told the Louisiana Record. “They are becoming aware, but they have not paid enough attention to realize that our surrounding states that have very similar demographics, roads and structures have substantially lower costs of insurance, and that is a result of the costs of lawsuits in Louisiana.”
The number of lawsuits filed in Louisiana directly impacts families in Louisiana, Mills said, and this boils down to an exorbitant “lawyer tax” that essentially goes to continue funding the litigious culture of the state.
“There are a lot of good lawyers out there, but there are a number of lawyers that are in the business of finding lawsuits and settling for a number that’s quick and dirty, and they get in and get out,” Mills said.
In addition to the lawyer situation, Mills said Louisiana, unlike many other states, does not guarantee a trial by jury for all court cases.
“One of our biggest problems in Louisiana is the jury trial threshold; any claim that is assessed to be valued at $50,000 or less goes before a judge and not a jury,” Mills said. “Every American has grown up thinking that you are guaranteed a trial by jury, but no, not in Louisiana. So we have a court system that has been corrupted."
Mills said he knows that not every person in the government system is corrupted, but he does fear that the system as a whole has been subject to large scale corruption.
“We have a system in Louisiana where judges are elected and the people who are putting them up to run for office are the attorneys that practice in front of them,” Mills said. “That is such a horrible position to put judges and lawyers in.”
"In his letter, Mr. Mills touches on many of the cases and impacts of lawsuit abuse," Lana Venable of the Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch told the Louisiana Record. "It is important that all candidates be well-informed about the critical issues like the abuses within our civil justice system and the resulting costs to voters and to our economy."