WASHINGTON (Dec. 21, 2004) — For the second year in a row, Madison County, Ill., led the American Tort Reform Association's (ATRA) list of “Judicial Hellholes,” signifying judicial districts that give unwarranted advantages to plaintiffs' attorneys at the expense of defendants in product liability suits.
“Defendants declare good reason to fear when sued in Judicial Hellholes,” said Victor Schwartz, general counsel for ATRA, a coalition whose members include the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA).
Jefferson County, Miss., a former leading “hellhole” on the ATRA list, was taken off the roll this year because of what the association called “a series of comprehensive, effective and fair legal reforms” in the state. The RMA, ATRA and other industry groups are hoping the Republican majority in the 109th Congress will look favorably on passage of a national tort reform bill. In past years such legislation has included a cap on punitive damages and a ban on “forum shopping”—allowing trial lawyers to seek favorable venues for product liability and class-action lawsuits.
A complete list of ATRA's Judicial Hellholes can be found at www.atra.org.