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2021-2022 "Judicial Hellholes Report" provides analysis of venues regarded as unfavorable to corporate defendants.

Each year the American Tort Reform Association ("ATRA") publishes its "Judicial Hellholes Report" that is intended to identify those jurisdictions that are the least friendly to corporate defendants. 

This year, these 8 are at the top of ATRA's list: (1) California (with the plaintiffs’ bar taking advantage of unique California laws like the Private Attorney General Act); (2) New York City (particularly regarding Americans With Disabilities Act accessibility claims and an attorney general battling climate change with energy companies), (3) Georgia; (4) Philadelphia (especially in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania), (5) Illinois (especially Cook, St. Clair, and Madison counties and regarding asbestos litigation and Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act class actions), (6) Louisiana (including deceptive lawsuit advertising practices and coastal litigation), (7) St. Louis, Missouri, and (8) South Carolina (particularly in asbestos litigation). The 5 jurisdictions on ATRA's "watch list" are: Florida, Colorado, Texas, Maryland, and Minnesota. The executive summary and report can be found here.

I have always found this to be an interesting read, even though I don't always agree with ATRA's evaluations and rankings. Nonetheless, any corporate defendant making decisions about venue should consult this report and consider ATRA's perspective -- particularly if litigating a class action. 

The Judicial Hellholes Report dovetails with the experience of employers in high-stakes workplace class actions, as California, New York, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, and South Carolina are among the leading states where Plaintiffs’ lawyers file employment discrimination and wage & hour class actions. Many of these jurisdictions are also becoming a hotbed for privacy and accessibility-related lawsuits. These jurisdictions are linked by class certification standards that are more plaintiff-friendly and by generous damages recovery possibilities under state laws.


litigation, class action, venue, corporate defendants