America maintains the most expensive tort system in the world to the tune of $865 billion every year, yet studies show victims receive less than 15-cents of every dollar. Within this broken system, Louisiana ranks #7 nationwide on the Tort Activity Index, #49 for our lawsuit climate, and #2 on the Judicial Hellholes list.
Excessive litigation affects the economy in numerous ways, but first and foremost, by increasing the cost of doing business. Companies large and small have no choice but to share these costs with the consumer, whether through higher insurance premiums or direct costs of goods and services. This “tort tax” of necessary costs and waste is estimated at $9,827 annually for a family of four. Ultimately, society as a whole feels the effect of excessive lawsuits, a silent weapon against job creation and economic growth. The poor legal climate in Louisiana costs as many as 50,000 new jobs every year, and changes to our system could result in $1.1 billion in savings for Louisianans.
An efficient and fair civil justice system is necessary to incentivize safe products and services and to provide justice to victims when wrongdoing occurs. But Louisianans recognize that is not what is in place today. Although more than eight out of 10 Louisiana voters believe lawsuit reform is needed, policymakers have not done enough to recognize and fight the costs of excessive litigation and a poor legal climate.
The vast majority of tort lawsuits are filed in state courts, and the laws regulating this system can be changed by state legislatures. The Louisiana regular legislative session convened March 10, 2014, and C100 has partnered with several organizations and companies who have come together to support measures to improve Louisiana’s legal system that incorporate the following principles: