The California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) regional director said the state's ranking as second in the latest listing of "Judicial Hellholes," is not a surprise.
“We used to be number one,” Julie Griffiths of the Sacramento group told the Northern California Record of the annual report released from the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) that tracks real-time disadvantages to defendants by civil court judges across the U.S.
“The legislator managed to pass one bill, so we should at least give them a pat on the back for acknowledging there is a lawsuit abuse issue in this state and the advantage of attorneys who take advantage of the loopholes,” Griffiths said.
The regional director offered information to ATRA for the report along with colleague Maryann Marino regarding California’s Judicial Hellholes.
“We let them know what we see from the local perspective,” Griffiths said of the report that also listed St. Louis, New York, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Madison and Cook Counties in Illinois and Louisiana as Judicial Hellholes. “They did their due diligence.”
As with ATRA doing their job, CALA says it is doing the same.
“What we do is keep raising awareness particularly to small- and medium-sized businesses in the state of California,” Griffiths said. “This ranking of number two speaks volumes. It is one thing when a major corporation gets sued,but its every single day that small and mid-sized family-owned businesses are being hit left and right with litigation that the can’t afford, control or manage and they have no access to the courts.”
Without money to defend oneself, even when you’re in the right, is nothing short of a Judicial Hellhole, Griffiths added.
“We believe at CALA in access to the courts,” Griffiths said. “People who don’t support our position believe we are trying to block access to the courts. We believe in access to courts for all, plaintiffs and defendants. That is what is being denied right now for many defendants.”
When the court system was heavily in the favor of plaintiffs, it offered the opportunity for a group of bad apples to take advantage of the system, she added.
“All we are asking is the legislators and others is to address that here in the state,” Griffiths said.