The American Tort Reform Foundation (ATRF) has unflattering words for Louisiana, saying that its courts are unbalanced, the litigation unnecessary and the governor an instigator.
The Foundation blames the governor for encouraging lawyers to file lawsuits over decades-old actions by energy companies.
In total, the Foundation says that the governor has pushed the state and local parishes (which are similar to counties in other states) to file over 40 lawsuits against gas and oil companies. They’ve also participated in asbestos litigation and demanded compliance with laws that guarantee fair access for the disabled.
The governor has shrugged off the complaint. It isn’t the first time the Foundation, which considers itself a watchdog group, has despaired over what it sees as inequities in Louisiana’s legal system. While Louisiana isn’t the worst state on its list, it has appeared there for eight years in a row.
For his part, the governor feels that companies have an ethical and legal obligation to clean up their messes from the past — even if it was a mess created decades ago. While the Foundation laments the pains and expense created for companies that bring jobs to the state, the governor is more concerned about the people who have to live and work there.
The Foundation has declared Louisiana’s judiciary “ethically-challenged” and claims the lawsuits filed under the Disability Act are worthless. The governor claims that the Foundation is simply the mouthpiece of a group that has the benefits of big business, not the average individual in mind.
The truth may be somewhere in the middle. At least one other watchdog group says that there needs to be some reforms made to the current system. However, it stopped far short of declaring the claims made by litigants who suffer from asbestos exposure, lung ailments or the inability to access businesses due to their disabilities as bogus.
Stories like this show how different two professional parties can view the same situations and cases. That’s why it’s important to seek comprehensive legal advice in complicated cases, like those involving asbestos exposure and other toxic torts, before you decide how to proceed.
Source: houmatoday.com, “Opinion: Louisiana earns top ‘judicial hellhole’ ranking again,” Melissa Landry, Dec. 12, 2017