Louisiana prepares for major judicial overhaul
Below is a column in Forbes today by ATR’s Patrick Gleason discussing how Governor Bobby Jindal & Louisiana legislators are set to make the Pelican State more conducive to economic growth and job creation:
In Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) has signed into law some of the most innovative and pro-growth reforms the nation has seen in recent years – such as providing parents with school choice through the country’s second largest education voucher program, criminal justice reforms that save taxpayer dollars by emphasizing rehabilitation over incarceration for non-violent offenders, and pension reform that increased the solvency of the state employee retirement system. The Pelican State’s legislature convened its 2014 session this week, and while lawmakers can’t take up tax issues this year (Louisiana has a unique system in which fiscal issues can only be taken up in odd number years), Gov. Jindal & state legislators are tackling tort reform, with a package of bills pending that will, if passed, make the state more economically competitive and serve as a boon to businesses and taxpayers.
Louisiana has long had a bad reputation as a top destination for trial lawyers to venue-shop for dubious class action lawsuits, and fertile ground for bogus legacy claims that have hindered the state’s crucial oil & gas industry. This is not without real consequences. It has been estimated that excessive litigation costs Louisiana families more than $9,000 per year. The American Tort Reform Foundation (ATRF) ranks Louisiana as the nation’s second worse judicial hellhole, behind only California.
This year, a series of bills have been introduced to address the problems plaguing the state’s legal system. In particular, legislation has been introduced that would lower the monetary threshold at which defendants are eligible for a jury trial, crack down on legacy lawsuit abuse targeting oil and natural gas producers, mitigate asbestos litigation fraud & abuse, and discourage lawsuit abuse by requiring those who file frivolous suits to cover the defendants’ legal costs.
To read the piece in its entirety, click here.
Photo credit: Matt' Johnson