WASHINGTON, D.C., July 9, 2018 – In making a rare midyear addition to its annual “Judicial Hellholes” report, the American Tort Reform Foundation announced that the Twin Cities of Minnesota […]
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 9, 2018 – In making a rare midyear addition to its annual “Judicial Hellholes” report, the American Tort Reform Foundation announced that the Twin Cities of Minnesota have been added to the “Judicial Hellholes” Watch List. Troubling decisions in Twin Cities courtrooms, unprincipled actions by the attorney general and multiple vetoes of common sense reforms by Governor Mark Dayton have earned the Twin Cities the unenviable distinction of being added to our compilation of the nation’s least fair and balanced jurisdictions. A link to the full write-up can be found here.
“Recent developments in Minnesota are sufficiently troubling that we are adding the Twin Cities to our “Watch” list, which signifies that it is, regrettably, a candidate for inclusion on the list as a full-fledged hellhole at year end,” said American Tort Reform Association president, Tiger Joyce. He continued, “We hope that Minnesota’s state leaders will realize the state is heading in the wrong direction and will work to restore balance to their civil justice system.”
Minnesota was selected as a rising jurisdiction on the Judicial Hellholes Watch List ® due to its poor state leadership and liability-expanding court decisions. Earlier this year, Attorney General Lori Swanson paid $125 million in attorneys’ fees to an out-of-state firm hired to manage a lawsuit against 3M for ground water contamination. Despite the fact that there was no evidence of health issues attributable to 3M’s product, this battle lasted seven years and resulted in a settlement of $850 million. Of that settlement, the state paid $125 million in contingency fees to the private attorneys, or roughly $47,000 per day for seven years.
“Our concerns extend to the courts,” continued Joyce. “We saw Judge Amy Dawson from the Hennepin County District Court show troubling disregard for the rights of a defendant in a case involving BNSF Railway Company when she relied on inaccurate data in ordering sanctions against the company and denied BNSF the ability to offer defenses in the underlying case. Cases like this one lead defendants to fear that they will not get a fair shake in the courts in the Twin Cities and throughout the state.”
“These two cases, coupled with the veto actions of Governor Dayton, demonstrate the lack of fairness in the Twin Cities’ justice system. We’re continuing to keep a close eye on the jurisdiction and hope that efforts to address these inequities ultimately will prevail in the “Gopher” State,” concludes Joyce.
The American Tort Reform Association, based in Washington, D.C., is the only national organization dedicated exclusively to tort and liability reform through public education and the enactment of legislation. Its members include nonprofit organizations and small and large companies, as well as trade, business and professional associations from the state and national level.