The Louisiana Legislature kicked off the 2014 regular session today, beginning a series of discussions about the most important issues facing the state. Already it is clear lawsuit reform will be front and center in the debate.
After seeing years of increased litigation and watching a few entrepreneurial members of the trial bar abuse loopholes in the legal system to line their pockets, it seems Governor Bobby Jindal and some lawmakers have finally had enough. In his opening address to the Legislature, Governor Jindal said:
“We will be supporting efforts by a number of legislators and business leaders who have expressed concerns about recent litigation, its impact on economic development and the need to create a more business friendly environment in the legal system. We’ve done a lot of things to make Louisiana a great place to do business. We’ve cut taxes, cut government spending, reformed our ethics code, and improved our education system. But, we also need to make sure we have a predictable, fair, legal environment in Louisiana.”
Indeed, dozens of proactive reform bills have been filed that seek to reduce meritless lawsuits and increase citizen access and input into our courts—but not everyone agrees with the proposed changes. Despite the obvious need for reform, some are working hard to maintain the status quo, while others are fighting to actually increase litigation and expand liability in Louisiana.
We can’t let that happen. Nationwide, we are already ranked as the second worst “judicial hellhole” in the country and it is estimated that excessive litigation costs Louisiana families more than $9,000 a year. Our state’s lawsuit-friendly legal environment has created costs and consequences that Louisiana consumers, workers and businesses simply cannot afford to pay. It is imperative that we act now to bring fairness and balance back to our courts.
Throughout the session, LLAW be tracking all the major legal reform measures, and as the debate progresses we’ll be sending out detailed information on the bills so you can help support the reforms that are most important to you.
For a full explanation of the legal reform issues facing the Louisiana legislature this term, read our post on Bayou Buzz.