Study blasts Louisiana lawsuit awards
A national survey of business attorneys and leaders ranks Louisiana as having the nation's second-worst lawsuit climate in 2010, Gannett Louisiana reports. The ranking comes despite numerous changes in Louisiana tort law limiting awards and lawsuits. The compilation was done prior to the state's adoption of changes in laws dealing with "legacy" lawsuits over oil and gas exploration and production cleanup. It's the second time in the last three assessments that the state has ranked 49th; and it has never ranked higher than 47th, as it did from 2002 to 2005, since the survey began a decade ago. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Legal Reform surveyed 1,482 in-house counsel, senior counsel or litigators, and business executives about their perceptions of state and local courts. The survey notes that Louisiana doesn't allow punitive damages except in rare cases, but that didn't elevate the state's score. Neither did other changes adopted since 1996, when the Louisiana Legislature passed one of the nation's most aggressive tort reform acts under then-Gov. Mike Foster. "Despite positive lawmaking, Louisiana is still notorious for excessive verdicts, loose class-certification standards and an unfair judiciary," says Lisa Rickard, president of the Institute for Legal Reform. Some Louisiana lawmakers expressed surprise at the low ranking. Read the full story here for complete details.
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