Lawsuit Abuse Impact

America has the world’s costliest legal system. As a percentage of our economy, U.S. legal liability costs are double those of the UK, three times higher than those in France and five times higher than those in Japan. Our nation’s litigation addiction hurts families, businesses, communities, and America's ability to compete for jobs and investment in a global economy. read more...

Just as important, lawsuit abuse harms workers and communities across the United States. Consider: Litigation costs small businesses in America over $100 billion per year.  One in three small business owners report that they have been sued or threatened with a lawsuit – and if sued, more than two-thirds say they would likely have to pass legal costs on to consumers, reduce employee benefits and hold off on hiring new employees. 

In other words, the ultimate victims of lawsuit abuse are consumers (in the form of higher prices) and workers (in the form of lost jobs and benefits).

Consider one example of how lawsuit abuse destroyed a business, killed jobs and decimated a community.

For nearly fifty years, gasoline can manufacturer Blitz USA was a pillar of the small town of Miami, Oklahoma.  They produced 75% of all portable gas cans sold in the United States, and more than 100 families depended on Blitz for their livelihoods. 

But then a small group of plaintiffs’ lawyers put Blitz USA out of business.  These trial lawyers concocted a legal theory that sought to blame Blitz for the handful of injuries caused by misuse of gas cans.  The resulting lawsuits forced the company to close its doors.  Over a hundred workers lost their jobs and benefits, and the town of Miami lost one of its most important employers – while the lawyers made millions. The factory has since reopened under foreign ownership but with fewer jobs.

It’s not just businesses that suffer from frivolous litigation. In Huntington, West Virginia, the local school district removed swings from elementary school playgrounds following a lawsuit.  In Rancho Cordova, California, a local community center was forced to close because of an abusive lawsuit. In 2017, New York City had to spend $722 million on civil litigation costs – which comes to approximately $85 for every resident of the city.

From workers on a gas can assembly line to kids in a West Virginia playground, the victims of lawsuit abuse are all around us. Little wonder, then, that nine out of ten American voters believe there are too many meritless lawsuits. Policymakers should take note and enact commonsense reforms to improve America’s lawsuit climate.

Research

West Virginia's Climb: Lawsuit Climate Progress in the Mountain State and the Path Ahead

January 10, 2018 | West Virginia has begun shedding its reputation for having one of the worst civil justice systems in the nation. The state's lawsuit climate ranked dead last or second to last in surveys of business executives and attorneys conducted eleven times over the past fifteen years--until 2017. This report explores the beginning of the state's encouraging transformation and highlights areas where it may continue this progress.

ILR Research Review - Fall 2017

November 30, 2017 | This special double-issue of the ILR Research Review features a wealth of insight and analysis on the world's rapidly changing litigation environment. The research contained in this issue targets exploitative litigation at home and abroad, examining numerous developments ranging from hyper-aggressive trial lawyer advertising in the U.S. to the imminent expansion of class actions in Europe.

All Results for Lawsuit Abuse Impact

In the News Today - February 16, 2018

February 16, 2018 | News and Blog

House Passes Bill to Curb ADA Lawsuit Abuse; West Virginia Senate Passes Intermediate Court Bill Read More »

"Lawsuit Abuse Threatens Manufacturing"

February 15, 2018 | News and Blog

In a Pittsburgh Business Times op-ed, the president of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association said the state's "trial lawyer-friendly environment allows frivolous litigation that costs all Pennsylvanians." Read More »

Top 10 Legal Reform Research Topics of 2017

January 11, 2018 | News and Blog

Review ILR's wide-ranging top ten legal reform research topics from 2017 and gain insights for 2018. Read More »

In the News Today - January 10, 2018

January 10, 2018 | News and Blog

Florida Appeals Court, Regulator Reject Curbing "Assignment of Benefits" Lawsuit Abuse; Attorneys Duel Over Fee Split In $785M Pfizer FCA Settlement Read More »

Report: West Virginia Legal Climate Improving; Should Stay on a Reform Path

January 10, 2018 | News and Blog

A new study from the Institute for Legal Reform, West Virginia's Climb: Lawsuit Climate Progress in the Mountain State and the Path Ahead, highlights major improvements in the state's civil justice system over the last three years. Read More »

WV's "State of the State" on Legal Reform: Improving

January 10, 2018 | News and Blog

Ahead of West Virginia Governor Jim Justice's "State of the State" address on Wednesday night, new research from the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) provides a snapshot of the state's past accomplishments and future opportunities on legal reform. Read More »

West Virginia's Climb: Lawsuit Climate Progress in the Mountain State and the Path Ahead

January 10, 2018 | Research

West Virginia has begun shedding its reputation for having one of the worst civil justice systems in the nation. The state's lawsuit climate ranked dead last or second to last in surveys of business executives and attorneys conducted eleven times over the past fifteen years--until 2017. This report explores the beginning of the state's encouraging transformation and highlights areas where it may continue this progress. Read More »

Top 10 Legal Reform Blogs of 2017

January 10, 2018 | News and Blog

From TCPA and TPLF commentary, to trial lawyer advertising, review ILR's top ten blogs from 2017. Read More »

Insurance Journal: Sugary Sports Beans, Uber Divorce Claims Among Chamber's 'Most Ridiculous' Lawsuits of 2017

December 28, 2017 | News and Blog

A lawsuit by a woman claiming she was deceived about the amount of sugar in an exercise supplement called Sport Beans tops the list of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform's "most ridiculous" lawsuits of 2017, writes Insurance Journal. Read More »

Overlawyered Highlights ILR's Top 10 Most Ridiculous Lawsuits of 2017

December 27, 2017 | News and Blog

Overlawyered highlights the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform's Top 10 Most Ridiculous Lawsuits of 2017, noting that it only previously covered three of the lawsuits on the list. Read More »

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