The American Tort Reform Foundation issued its annual Judicial Hellholes® report today, naming civil courts in California, Louisiana, New York City, West Virginia, Southwestern Illinois’ Madison and St. Clair counties, and South Florida among the nation’s “most unfair.”
As ever higher costs for the practice of "defensive medicine" help drive health care inflation, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed H.R. 5, setting forth reasonable limits on lawsuits against health care providers. Some critics of the legislation question its constitutionality, but this recent ATRA paper answers those critics and makes clear that such needed reform is indeed contitutional.
Concerned by the increasing regularity with which some state attorneys general are hiring personal injury lawyers to pursue lawsuits on behalf of their states, the American Tort Reform Association has published a 50-state study of the statutes governing such hiring and the disclosures thereof.
Entitled Setting the Course, Establishing Best Practices for Attorney General Use of Outside Counsel (4.6MB PDF), the ATRA study grades state laws on the good government principles of public disclosure, competitive bidding, oversight and fiscal responsibility. It focuses on the inadequacies of requirements placed on state attorneys general as they sometimes engage in inappropriate relationships with outside counsel.
"Some activist state attorneys general are offering no-bid contingency fee contracts, potentially worth many millions of dollars or more, to personal injury lawyers who have made substantial campaign contributions to those same AGs," explains ATRA president Tiger Joyce. "This abusive pursuit of personal interests directly conflicts with the public interest, and state laws should work to eliminate such abuse."
The National Association of Attorneys General has appointed a Best Practices Task Force that has considered ATRA's recommendations for greater transparency. The task force is expected to report to the full NAAG during its annual meeting in Washington in early March.