Coalition For Common Sense

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The Louisiana Coalition for Common Sense (LCCS) is a group of professional associations, companies and individuals committed to ensuring a fair legal climate for both truly impaired individuals and small and large businesses operating in the state.

Formed in 2008, the group has been successful in passing legislation to clarify the rules on expert witness testimony, which saves the courts both time and money. The need for additional civil justice reform continues. 

THE FACES OF LAWSUIT ABUSE…The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform last week released its Faces of Lawsuit Abuse multi-part video series called "Louisiana: The Lawsuit Paradise." The series provides an in-depth look at how lawsuits threaten to ruin the state of Louisiana's economy. The series features interviews with small business owners and others who know firsthand the impact lawsuits have on jobs, insurance costs, among other things. Episode one is particularly compelling. 
To watch the full series, click here. 

Louisiana Coalition for Common Sense Announces New Director
LCCS announced Karen Eddlemon has joined the organization as executive director effective September 1, 2019. 


The Louisiana Coalition for Common Sense and the Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch recently hosted a consortium called “Crisis Point: Lawsuit Abuse in Louisiana” to address the state’s legal climate. More than 100 people attended to hear keynote speaker Harold Kim, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform Executive Vice President discuss the economic impacts of litigation in Louisiana and opportunities to improve. The event also featured a panel discussion led by Louisiana Association of Business and Industry President Stephen Waguespack featuring local businesspeople directly impacted by lawsuit abuse, as well as a conversation between Louisiana Oil and Gas Association President Gifford Briggs and Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association President Tyler Gray.
 To see brief interviews with the conference coordinators, legislators and participants, click here.

 

 

 

NOW IS THE TIME FOR CIVIL JUSTICE REFORM IN LOUISIANA

Civil justice reform was a part of many of the new legislators’ campaign platforms. Now is the time for change. Louisiana was, once again, ranked as a ‘Judicial Hellhole’ by the American Tort Reform Foundation. In fact, this year, the state moved from fifth-worst to fourth-worst in the nation. Louisiana received an “F” grade in R Street Policy’s 2019 Insurance Regulation Report Card and was ranked 50th in the nation in insurance regulation.

 

In October 2018, the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform issued the report Costs and Compensations of the U.S. Tort System. The report concluded that, in 2016, costs and compensation paid in the U.S. tort system amounted to $429 billion, or 2.3 percent of U.S. gross domestic product. 

 

Also in 2018, Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch released the Economic Benefits of Tort Reform, anassessment measuring the impact of excessive civil court costs on Louisiana’s economy. The study, conducted by The Perryman Group for Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA), found that Louisiana is losing jobs and revenue because of the state’s civil justice system.

 

WHY WE CAN AFFECT CHANGE

This fall, Louisianans voted overwhelmingly for change in sending a supermajority of reform-minded candidates to the state Legislature who campaigned on improving the state’s business and legal climate. Legislators will elect a conservative speaker on January 13. The Legislature is motivated to improve Louisiana’s economy, which has been hindered by an historically litigious culture. The regular legislative session, in which legislators may file any number of bills on any subject matter, begins March 9. 

 

HOW WE CAN AFFECT CHANGE

Louisiana is an outlier in several ways, including allowing the potential for unfair windfalls to plaintiffs,  allowing direct action, not allowing juries to consider evidence of seat belt use in auto accident cases and holding the distinction of having the highest jury trial threshold in the nation. 

 

Some ideas to improve the legal climate include:

·      Lower the jury trial threshold

·      End the collateral source rule

·      Limit direct action against insurers

·      Regulate attorney advertising

·      Limit contingency fee attorney contracts at the local level

·      Improve judicial transparency

·      Allow juries to consider evidence of seat belt use in auto accident cases

·      Change pleading requirements in mass defendant cases 

·      Pass asbestos reform

·      Clean up venue laws

 

Louisiana Legislative Session

The final legislative track from the regular session includes the act numbers on the legislation the governor signed, as well as the notice of vetoes and mention of bills that did not make it through the process. 
 
The other report is the final results of the special session just completed. We will have a followup report from this session when the governor signs/vetoes or allows to become law this legislation. 
 
To say both sessions were unusual in these times of coronavirus would be an understatement. It would not be an exaggeration to say we have never seen this many pieces of legal reform legislation introduced in any session over the past 37 years of which we are aware. 
 
Most significantly, a number of liability protections in connection with COVID-19 and other emergencies were passed. Also, while we were less than completely successful in totally changing the complexion of the legal climate in Louisiana, there was definitely movement in the right direction. For that, we thank the Louisiana Legislature and all of you who made phone calls, wrote emails or otherwise contacted lawmakers to express the importance of these issues. 
 
There is more work to be done, and we look forward to working with you and the Legislature toward the next steps. 
 
Karen Eddlemon
Executive Director

Jim Harris
Communications Director

Louisiana Coalition for Common Sense
 

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