Florida Surpasses California to Become Worst ‘Judicial Hellhole’

By: Edie Ousley

 

New Report Says ‘High Court’s Contempt & Lawsuit Rackets’ Are to Blame

TALLAHASSEE, FL (December 5, 2017) – For the first time in its 16-year history, a new report says “enough shade has been cast on the Sunshine State to rank it as the nation’s worst Judicial Hellhole.”

The ranking announced this morning by the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA), is further evidence that Florida’s legal climate is among the worst in America, the Florida Chamber of Commerce said today.

“Lawsuit abuse in Florida is an increasingly serious and expensive problem, and it just keeps getting worse. On average, it translates into a $3,400 ‘tax’ for Florida’s families each year, due to increased lawsuit abuse costs,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber.

“There have been five Wall Street Journal articles this year alone talking about Florida’s horrendous lawsuit abuse, the national Institute for Legal Reform named Florida the fifth worst state for legal climate, and now the American Tort Reform Association ranks Florida as the worst Judicial Hellhole, how much more evidence do lawmakers need to take action,” Wilson continued.

According to ATRA, the report shines its brightest spotlight on eight jurisdictions or courts that have earned reputations as Judicial Hellholes, including Florida, California, St. Louis, New York City, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Madison and Cook Counties, Illinois, and Louisiana.

From ATRA’s Executive Summary:

  • The Florida Supreme Court’s liability-expanding decisions and barely contained contempt for the lawmaking authority of legislators and the governor has repeatedly led to its inclusion in this report. And though the high court’s plaintiff-friendly majority this year shrunk from 5-2 to 4-3, a hushed discus­sion between two majority justices recently caught by an open microphone suggests that this majority is as partisan as ever and brazenly determined to influence the judicial selection process as three like-minded col­leagues face mandatory retirement in early 2019.
  • Meanwhile, an aggressive personal injury bar’s fraudulent and abusive practices in South Florida and elsewhere have also tarnished the state’s reputation. Encouragingly, at least some plaintiffs’ lawyers who’ve crossed the line are being held accountable, either with stiff court sanctions or criminal prosecutions. But with the help of some lawmakers, too many are still get­ting away with too much, and for the first time in this report’s 16-year history, enough shade has been cast on the Sunshine State to rank it as the nation’s worst Judicial Hellhole.

“At a time we’re trying to lower the cost of living on Florida families, this isn’t good news for home and auto owners and their insurance rates. At a time when we’re trying to lower the cost of doing business in Florida, including reducing workers’ comp rates, this isn’t good news,” Wilson said.

 

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The Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.