1 JUDICIAL HELLHOLES 2017 2018 1. It is the Legislature, not this Court, that is entitled to make laws as a matter of policy based on the facts it finds..[It is] the Legislature's task to decide whether a medical malpractice crisis exists, whether a medical malpractice crisis has abated, and whether the Florida Statutes should be amended accordingly.. Florida Supreme Court Justices Ricky Polston, Charles Canady and Alan Lawson dissenting in North Broward Hospital District v. Kalitan (June 8, 2017), wherein the usual liability-expanding majority again saw fit to disregard the will of Sunshine State voters as expressed through their duly elected representatives in the legislature and governor's office.
2 Nor does the absence of a regulation or statute declaring interior residential lead paint to be unlawful bar a court from declaring it to be a public nuisance. As this court pointed out in Santa Clara I, a defendant's control of the nuisance is not necessary to establish liability in a representative public nuisance action in California.. A unanimous three-judge panel of California's Sixth District Court of Appeal upholding a trial court's de facto imposition of a sweeping new regulation, even as it remanded for reduction an initial $ billion judgment against former makers of lead-based paint in People v. ConAgra Grocery Products Company (November 14, 2017).
3 [T]he majority's holding is legally inaccurate [and] will have a far-reaching, negative impact on the manner in which physicians serve their patients. For fear of legal liability, physicians now must be involved with every aspect of informing their patients' consent, thus delaying seriously ill patients' access to physicians and the critical services that they provide. Courts should not impose such unnecessary burdens upon an already strained and overwhelmed occupation when the law does not clearly warrant this JUDICIAL interference.. Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Max Baer dissenting in Shinal (June 20, 2017), a 4-3 medical liability decision that a brain surgeon, not his highly trained staff, should have directly sought a patient's informed consent.
4 We apply our evidence rules and our court rules and that attracts plaintiffs here. They like our evidence rules, they like our expert witness rules .. New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Barry T. Albin, during oral argument, McCarrell v. Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. (Oct. 13, 2016). The trial lawyers are the single most powerful political force in Albany. That's the short answer. It's also the long answer.. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, explaining why efforts to reform the state's antiquated, growth hindering scaffold law have been thwarted (April 23, 2014). JUDICIAL HELLHOLES 2017 2018. PREFACE. Since 2002, the American Tort Reform Foundation's (ATRF) JUDICIAL HELLHOLES program has identified and documented places where judges in civil cases systematically apply laws and court procedures in an unfair and unbalanced manner, generally to the disadvantage of defendants.
5 More recently, as the lawsuit industry has aggressively lobbied for legislative and regulatory expansions of liability, as well, the JUDICIAL HELLHOLES report has evolved to include such law- and rule-making activity, much of which can affect the fairness of any given jurisdic- tion's civil justice climate as readily as JUDICIAL actions. The content of this report builds off the American Tort Reform Association's (ATRA) real-time monitoring of JUDICIAL Hellhole activity year-round at It reflects feedback gathered from ATRA members and other firsthand sources. And because the program has become widely known, ATRA also continually receives tips and additional information, which is then researched independently through publicly available court docu- ments, JUDICIAL branch statistics, press accounts, scholarship and studies.
6 Though entire states are sometimes cited as HELLHOLES , specific counties or courts in a given state often war- rant citations of their own. Importantly, jurisdictions singled out by JUDICIAL HELLHOLES reporting are not the only JUDICIAL HELLHOLES in the United States; they are simply among the worst. The goal of the program is to shine a light on imbalances in the courts and thereby encourage positive changes by the judges themselves and, when needed, through legislative action or popular referenda. ABOUT THE AMERICAN TORT REFORM FOUNDATION. The American Tort Reform Foundation (ATRF) is a District of Columbia nonprofit corporation founded in 1997.
7 The primary purpose of the foundation is to educate the general public about how the civil justice system operates, the role of tort law in the civil justice system, and the impact of tort law on the public and private sectors. JUDICIAL HELLHOLES is a registered trademark of ATRA being used under license by ATRF. JUDICIAL HELLHOLES 2017 2018 i CONTENTS. PREFACE .. i EXECUTIVE SUMMARY .. 1. JUDICIAL HELLHOLES . #1 Florida .. 5. #2 California .. 14. #3 St. Louis, Missouri .. 22. #4 NYCAL .. 26. #5 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania .. 30. #6 New Jersey .. 34. #7 Madison and Cook Counties, Illinois .. 37. #8 Louisiana .. 43. WATCH LIST.
8 Baltimore, Maryland .. 46. Georgia .. 47. Newport News, Virginia .. 49. Oregon Supreme Court .. 50. Pennsylvania Supreme Court .. 50. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit .. 54. West Virginia .. 55. DISHONORABLE MENTIONS. Connecticut Supreme Court Blesses $42 Million for Tick Bite .. 57. Minnesota Governor's Veto Triple-Play' .. 57. Wisconsin Appeals Court Strikes Down Medical Liability Limit .. 58. POINTS OF LIGHT. Attorneys General Arizona's attorney general leads crackdown on fraudulent ADA lawsuits .. 59. In the Courts Fifth Circuit Overturns Record-Breaking But Totally Bogus FCA Verdict .. 60. Seventh Circuit's Empty-Suit' Eye Drop Decision.
9 61. Another Sound Decision from the Seventh Circuit (Asbestos) .. 61. Oregon Supreme Court Reins in Personal Jurisdiction .. 62. Three Juries Issue Defense Verdicts in Xarelto Bellwether Trials .. 62. In the Legislatures Thirteen states enacted 17 positive civil justice reforms in 2017 .. 62. CLOSER LOOKS. Three Supreme Court Decisions Should Slow Litigation Tourism .. 64. Opioid Litigation .. 66. Trial Lawyers' Influence Grows at the American Law Institute .. 67. THE MAKING OF A JUDICIAL HELLHOLE .. 70. Copyright 2017 by American Tort Reform Foundation ii JUDICIAL HELLHOLES 2017 2018. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY. The 2017-2018 JUDICIAL HELLHOLES report shines its brightest spotlight on eight jurisdictions or courts that have earned reputations as JUDICIAL HELLHOLES .
10 Some are known for welcoming litigation tourism or as hotbeds for asbestos litigation, and in all of them too many judges seem more eager to expand civil liability than to respect precedent and the policy-making authority of duly elected lawmakers. JUDICIAL HELLHOLES . #1 FLORIDA The Florida Supreme Court's liability- expanding decisions and barely contained contempt for the lawmaking authority of legislators and the governor has repeatedly led to its inclusion in this report . And though the high court's plaintiff-friendly majority this year shrunk from 5-2 to 4-3, a hushed discus- sion between two majority justices recently caught by 1 FLORIDA.