On Dec. 15, The American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) published the 2009-10 version of its annual Judicial Hellholes, the report that details the worst places in the country to be sued. This year, the “most unfair civil court jurisdictions,” as ATRA puts it, include South Florida (this year’s worst of all); the entire state of West Virginia; Cook County, Illinois; Atlantic County, New Jersey (the home of Atlantic City); New Mexico’s appellate courts and New York City. The last two are new to the Hellholes list, while the others have made it several years running. Other jurisdictions made ATRA’s Watch List, places that may fall or rise, depending. These include California; Alabama; some counties in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley and along its Gulf Coast; Madison County, Illinois; and Jefferson County, Mississippi. Inclusion on this latter list marks a great improvement for Madison County, which was once the deepest of ATRA’s hellholes. Other counties in Illinois, Louisiana and Nevada are concerning, says ATRA, but somewhat less so. The text of the report details the reasons these places have been given the hellhole designation, and emphasizes that since judicial hellholes make it hot for businesses located there, hellhole status is bad for local employment and economic growth. The report also mentions a few Points of Light, places where some important even-handed judicial opinions have recently been handed down. The text of the Judicial Hellholes report may be found on ATRA’s website, at www.atra.org.
Posted on Sun, December 20, 2009