Coalition For Common Sense

Need for Reform PDF Print E-mail



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 nationLouisiana 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 SystemThe 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.



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. 



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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