BATON ROUGE, LA (Jan. 29, 2016)— Local and national legal experts discussed key findings from a new report, “The Costs and Consequences of the Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (LUTPA),” at a roundtable event co-hosted today by the Coalition for Common Sense (CCS), Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch (LLAW) and the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA).
“Louisiana’s consumer protection laws have dramatically evolved and expanded over the years,” said Kevin Cunningham, a member of the CCS Advisory Committee who moderated the event. “This well-intentioned law has become an unwieldy statute that incentivizes unnecessary litigation and makes even technical violations very costly to resolve.”
The new white paper from Emory University Law School Professor Joanna Shepherd highlights the devolution of the LUTPA and details simple changes to the law that would ensure its proper use to punish deceptive business practices and protect consumers without enabling nuisance litigation against honest businesses.
“After extensively researching the effects of LUTPA claims on the state of Louisiana, it is evident that this law needs to be reformed,” said Professor Shepherd. “The gradual expansion of LUTPA beyond its original purpose has driven a surge of consumer protection lawsuits that appear to produce no tangible benefits to Louisiana consumers.”
An analysis of data shows LUTPA decisions in both federal and state appellate courts have increased significantly over the ten-year period from 2000-2009, with Louisiana ranking 8th out of all 50 states in the number of per-capita consumer protection decisions.
Today’s event was a part of a larger reform effort that ATRA has undertaken in several states across the country.
“Unfortunately for consumers and jobseekers, Louisiana has become notorious as one of the states where consumer protection laws can be most easily exploited by personal injury lawyers looking to become millionaires,” said ATRA President Tiger Joyce. “The steadily growing costs of LUTPA lawsuits are invariably passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices, and employers battered by preposterous lawsuits expand less and create fewer jobs than they would otherwise. Reasonably reforming the LUTPA would help consumers, boost the state economy, and help Louisiana shake its reputation as a judicial hellhole.
Additional information about ATRA’s consumer protection act reform project can be found at www.consumerlawsunhinged.org.
American Tort Reform Association– ATRA is the only national organization dedicated exclusively to tort and liability reform through public education and the enactment of legislation. Its members include nonprofit organizations and small and large companies, as well as trade, business and professional associations from the state and national level. www.atra.org
Coalition for Common Sense- Formed in 2008, CCS is comprised of professional associations, companies, and individuals committed to passing legislation in Louisiana that ensures a fair legal climate for both truly harmed individuals and small and large businesses operating in the state. www.coalitionforcommonsense.com
Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch– LLAW is a high-impact watchdog group with more than 6,000 supporters across the state dedicated to fixing Louisiana’s broken legal system through transparency, accountability and lawsuit reform. www.llaw.org