Is there room for tort reform on the Washington agenda?

Something tells me that with all the fodder for hot takes absorbing both the government and the media, this may not wind up being something we’ll see much progress on, but we probably should. The problem is the avalanche of (frequently frivolous) lawsuits clogging up our system of courts in this very litigious society and the crazy judgments which now make up a measurable portion of the nation’s economy. There was a time when tort reform was actually a hot topic, but it’s been shoved to the back burner for a while now.


The problem is most keenly felt in a few locations where plaintiffs are able to find amenable judges, and the Big Apple is among the worst. The New York Post recently highlighted this issue, describing New York City as drowning in ridiculous, pricey lawsuits.

New York City is being tort-ured.

The Big Apple is drowning in so many frivolous lawsuits — over everything from food packaging and advertising to the design of retail Web sites — that the city’s court system has become one of the nation’s worst places for civil justice, a damning report out Tuesday reveals.

The Americans for Tort Reform Foundation will give New York City the dubious distinction of placing No. 3 on its annual list of “Judicial Hellholes” where plaintiffs lawyers run amok with the help of accommodating judges and do-nothing lawmakers.

The report, a copy of which was provided to The Post in advance, turns up the heat on the city’s court system, which has previously come under fire from the ATRF for the “brazenly plaintiff-favoring ways” of a special court for asbestos-related, personal injury suits in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Nearly a quarter of all US food product-related lawsuits originate in New York, but we’re not talking about people being poisoned. Most of them are complaints about the package not being fully filled or items that are labeled as being “natural” when they contain additives or what have you. There are plenty more on the list which you can read for yourself.


So New York comes in at number three on the list of the worst, but they are left in the dust by Florida (in second place) and, in case you couldn’t have guessed it… California at number 1 among “judicial hellholes.” (Washington Examiner)

America is getting crushed by courts that have opened the door to lawsuits by adopting fake law, “junk science,” and even litigation “tourism,” with payments reaching $429 billion, or 2.3 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, according to a remarkable new report.

California courts top the list from the American Tort Reform Association, and it is expected to get worse as lawyers feast on a new data privacy law.

“The California motto, ‘Eureka,’ is said to refer to the discovery of gold. Today, plaintiff’s lawyers are California’s prospectors, searching for new theories of liability. Some have struck it rich,” said the report, 2018-2019 Judicial Hellholes.

As noted in the report, lawyers are increasingly shopping around and engaging in “litigation tourism” where they put their clients in front of the courts where it’s easiest to get a favorable judgment. And the legislatures where these judicial hellholes are found are fostering an environment where people can sue over what would normally be considered a trivial inconvenience and ring up a payday that would make you think their entire family had been murdered.


There was a time when such lawyers were referred to as “ambulance chasers,” but the tactics of the old-school personal injury lawyers are left far behind by the riches lawyers are finding in the digital age. So is there anything that can be done to curb in these excesses? Sure, but it would take a lot of legislative willpower and heavy lifting to accomplish it. And those are in short supply these days.

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Ed Morrissey 4:41 PM on September 29, 2023