Lawsuit Abuse Awareness Week is observed each October by Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch and civil justice reform organizations across the U.S. to inform citizens about the costs and consequences of lawsuit abuse and encourage elected officials to bring fairness and common sense to civil justice systems.

The legal system should provide for legitimate resolution for those injured by the acts of others. While there is a role for regulations and lawsuits that protect the public, unfounded lawsuits that result in excessive damages and rewards can negatively impact the economy and are destructive to Louisiana businesses and consumers. This is especially true as we work to overcome the myriad impacts of COVID-19.

While Louisiana has implemented legislative lawsuit reform measures and judicial transparency improvements, there is much more to be done. Most recently, “hurricane lawyers” have surfaced, seeking to capitalize on the devastating storms across South Louisiana. Continuing issues include coastal lawsuits, auto insurance scams, judicial misconduct, and unfair legal advertising.

A 2021 Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse study found Louisiana would see tangible benefits from additional legal reforms that would support 22,500 additional jobs and $3.87 billion in increased economic activity. Under the current system, every single Louisiana resident is paying a hidden “tort tax” of $451 annually.

Louisiana is ranked as having the fifth-worst legal climate in the U.S. in the American Tort Reform Foundation’s annual Judicial Hellholes® report and was named an Everlasting Judicial Hellhole for being featured 11 times in the report’s 20-year history.

Louisiana pays when our legal system is abused. We must understand our legal rights, make smart choices when considering filing a lawsuit, and serve on a jury when called. It’s up to each of us to do our part to help end lawsuit abuse and ensure courts are used for justice, not greed.

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