The 2018-2019 Judicial Hellholes Report was released, and it named St. Louis as the #4 Judicial Hellhole in America. While this is not as bad as the #1 ranking St. Louis received in previous rankings due to some important reforms like restoring the “motivating factor” standard in proving discrimination cases and premises liability reform, being #4 is nothing to brag about and means we have a lot of work to do.
Some other factors played into St. Louis receiving this ranking:
- St. Louis is a hotspot for “forum shopping” and a process called “joinder” that allows certain litigants to be “joined” in a lawsuit as a defendant and, even when they are later dismissed from the case, the jurisdiction of the case remains in the court generally less favorable for defendants;
- Some judges tend to allow junk science as evidence in courts;
- Abusive consumer class actions;
- A pro-liability Supreme Court that tends to disregard juror misconduct;
- The trial bar’s stronghold on judicial selection (often recommending fellow plaintiffs’ attorneys for such positions);
- The vast proliferation of lawsuit advertising that not only drive up claims but taint jury pools by making claims that are assumed to be “true;” and,
- Failure to pass punitive damages reform, asbestos trust fund transparency reform, and other important tort reform measures.
“We have worked hard to pass bills that reform the tort environment in Missouri and we continually have to fight the plaintiffs’ bar that has invested heavily in the political campaigns of both Republicans and Democrats,” said Ray McCarty, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Missouri. “It is time for all legislators to look at the impact our broken tort system is having on the business climate in Missouri and do something about it,” he said.