Philadelphia, A Judicial Hellhole!

According to the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA), Philadelphia has since been demoted to a mere second to California’s top ranking. Prior to that:


Washington, DC, December 15, 2011 — The American Tort Reform Association today released its annual Judicial Hellholes ® report, documenting abuses of the civil justice system in jurisdictions it says are among the most unfair and out-of-balance in the nation.

Civil courts in Philadelphia, particularly the Complex Litigation Center there, top the list of Judicial Hellholes for the second year in a row, as “litigation tourism” is actually encouraged by some judges (see the Wall Street Journal’s recent editorial, “The City of Unbrotherly Torts”). Civil justice problems throughout California and West Virginia earn the second- and third-place rankings, respectively. And auto-accident fraud racketeers helped place perennial judicial hellhole South Florida in fourth place.

“Traditionally, Judicial Hellholes have been considered places where civil judges systematically apply laws and court procedures in an unfair and unbalanced manner, generally against defendants in civil lawsuits,” explained ATRA president Tiger Joyce. “The jurisdictions we name as Judicial Hellholes each year are not the only unfair courts in the nation, but they are among the most unfair, based on our survey of litigants and considerable independent research.”


The 2011-2012 report shines the spotlight on eight areas of the country that have developed reputations as Judicial Hellholes:

#1 Philadelphia. Philadelphia hosts a disproportionate share of Pennsylvania’s lawsuits and, as demonstrated by the report, forum shopping for plaintiff-friendly courts within the state is primarily a “Philly phenomenon.” Of greatest concern is the Complex Litigation Center (CLC) in Philadelphia, where judges have actively sought to attract personal injury lawyers from across the state and the country. Plaintiff-friendly law, expedited procedures, a reputation for a high plaintiff-win rate and generous awards contribute to Philadelphia’s status as a venue of choice. Success in addressing the flow of medical liability cases to Philadelphia and the legislature’s recent limiting of a defendant’s liability to its share of fault provide some hope for the future.


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