California Tops the “Hellhole” List, Displacing Philadelphia.
American Tort Reform Association’s 2012-2013 “Judicial Hellhole” List and “Watch List” have come out, ranking judicial venues that are overly pro-plaintiff or even anti-business. Here are the highlights:
*California has replaced Philadelphia as the top “hellhole,” with Philadelphia taking encouraging reforms that have displaced it to the “watch list”;
*Class actions, “trolling” disability access suits, and a surge in asbestos cases were the primary factors listed for California making #1 on the “hellhole” list;
*Rounding out the “hellhole” top five are: #2 -- West Virginia; #3 -- Madison County, Ill.; #4 -- New York City and Albany, N.Y.; and #5 -- Baltimore, Md.;
*The “watch list” included these venues: Philadelphia; South Florida (both of which moved off the “hellhole” list); Cook County, Ill.; New Jersey; Nevada; Louisiana;
*ATRA also commended the California Supreme Court for its decision in O’Neil v. Crane Co., 53 Cal.4th 355 (2012), where our state high court ruled that companies generally are not liable for component products that are attached to or installed on their products after sale.
Disclaimer: We note that the ATRA entry in Wikipedia states that it has been nominated to be checked for neutrality. ATRA is an advocacy group that, according to the Wikipedia entry, is supported by "more than 300 businesses, corporations, municipalities, associations, and professional firms." ."Tort reform" is a politically contentious issue and a loaded term subject to different points of view.