When Rick Perry, then governor of Texas, made his infamous forays into California two years ago touting his state's superior business climate, it was hard not to feel aggrieved. The continuing exodus of California-based companies have added injury to the insult.
Still, Perry could not have made his pitch if Californians had not allowed a cabal of plaintiffs attorneys and their cronies in our courts and legislature to degrade our business climate.
Though few in number, these particular attorneys are parasitical, preying on the successful businesses and industries that supply the rest of us with useful products and services, offer us well-paying jobs, and provide tax revenue for our local, state, and federal governments.
The courts and legislature in Texas protect their producers from these pests. Ours do not.
This is a longstanding problem, as the most recent installment of the American Tort Reform Association's annual hellhole list makes clear.
“Specific California cities and counties have regularly been cited for their civil justice system imbalances by the Judicial Hellholes report since its inaugural edition in 2002,” the study asserts. “But rather than use that constructive criticism as intended and undertake reforms, things have only tended to get worse throughout much of the state. So much so that all of California was ranked #1 among the nation’s Judicial Hellholes in both 2012 and 2013.”
Edged out by New York in 2014, California reclaimed first and worst place last year.
Citing “the state’s irrepressibly plaintiff-friendly lawmakers and judges, and its often preposterous lawsuits and sometimes incredible court decisions that only encourage still more litigation,” the report hones in on “particularly troubling issues” such as disability access lawsuits against small businesses, class-action lawsuits against food and beverage companies, and far-fetched public nuisance suits.
Dozens of California companies have fled our inhospitable home and escaped to more friendly ones like Perry's. If we Californians ever come to our senses, we’ll have an excellent model to follow in Texas.