Oct. 2 marks the start of Lawsuit Abuse Awareness Week, observed by Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch and other grassroots organizations across the country that support civil justice reform. This week is about shining a light on the injustices plaguing Louisiana’s civil justice system by informing citizens about the costs and consequences of lawsuit abuse.
All Louisianans can be part of the solution by serving on a jury when called, by understanding their legal rights, and by making smart choices when hiring a lawyer or considering filing a lawsuit. During this election year, it is also critical for residents to exercise their right to vote by casting an informed ballot. We hope that voters will consider candidates who are committed to improving our civil justice system for all Louisianans.
Our civil justice system exists to provide a means for legitimate resolution of disputes for those injured by the acts of behavior of others. While there is a proper role for good regulations that protect the public and for lawsuits that enforce them, our system of checks and balances breaks down when this system is abused. We all must be smart legal consumers and call out abuses of this system.
While Louisiana has made incremental progress in improving the state’s legal climate, most recently by addressing potentially false or misleading legal advertising, much more remains to be done. Issues including lack of transparency in our judicial system, coastal lawsuits that threaten our economy and insurance schemes designed to take advantage of businesses and consumers are all prime examples of critical issues that must be addressed.
The U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform ranked Louisiana’s legal climate the second worst in the nation in its 2019 Lawsuit Climate Survey, and the American Tort Reform Foundation ranked Louisiana the seventh-worst Judicial Hellhole in the U.S. in its 2022-23 report. A 2023 study conducted by The Perryman Group for Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) found excessive tort litigation in Louisiana resulted in nearly $270 million in fiscal impact to the state and nearly 50,0000 job losses.
We all pay the price when our legal system is abused. The goal of Lawsuit Abuse Awareness Week is to bring to light the issue of abusive lawsuits and questionable legal practices – and to inform Louisianans of the costs of these abuses that are passed on to all of us. We are reminded of the importance of personal responsibility and the pivotal role consumers play in ending lawsuit abuse. By engaging in the process, all Louisianans can help ensure our courts are used for justice, not personal gain.