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 trail 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 2011, New York City had to spend $550 million on lawsuit costs – which comes to approximately $70 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

Big Bucks and Local Lawyers: The Increasing Use of Contingency Fee Lawyers by Local Governments

October 26, 2016 | The increasing use of contingency fee counsel by local government entities is a disturbing trend that poses real risks to the fair and impartial administration of justice.

Trial Lawyer Marketing: Broadcast, Search and Social Strategies

October 27, 2015 | This study presents findings that highlight the highly-sophisticated and well-orchestrated marketing tactics of the plaintiffs' bar, including television advertising and the use of social media.

All Results for Lawsuit Abuse Impact

NEW VIDEO: Are TV Ads for Drug Lawsuits Bad for your Health?

December 08, 2016 | News and Blog

In 2015, trial lawyers spent 128 million dollars to air 365,000 ads hawking lawsuits against drugs and medical devices. But a report shows that these ads can be harmful to the public health. Read More »

Opening Remarks: Lisa A. Rickard

October 27, 2016 | Video

Watch »

Big Bucks and Local Lawyers: The Increasing Use of Contingency Fee Lawyers by Local Governments

Author: Michael Maddigan, Hogan Lovells | October 26, 2016 | Research

The increasing use of contingency fee counsel by local government entities is a disturbing trend that poses real risks to the fair and impartial administration of justice. Read More »

ILR's 'Faces of Lawsuit Abuse' Campaign Cited in 'Monkey Selfie' Brief Before Ninth Circuit

August 29, 2016 | News and Blog

Last year, the infamous "Monkey Selfie" lawsuit was dubbed the Most Ridiculous Lawsuit of 2015 by ILR's Faces of Lawsuit Abuse campaign. Read More »

In the News Today - August 29, 2016

August 29, 2016 | News and Blog

The Wall Street Journal editorial board gave credit to Judge Percy Anderson for tossing a lawsuit against Starbucks that alleged "baristas put too much ice in cold drinks." Read More »

Monumental Issues: President of ILR Talks Abusive Lawsuits

August 25, 2016 | News and Blog

Lisa Rickard, president of ILR, participated in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Monumental Issues video series. Rickard spoke in front of President Lincoln's cottage in Washington, D.C. about lawsuit abuse and the need for legal reform. Read More »

In the News Today - August 24, 2016

August 24, 2016 | News and Blog

Johnson & Johnson believes it has "strong grounds" to appeal two multimillion-dollar jury verdicts that alleged a link between the company's talcum powder product and ovarian cancer. Read More »

Monkey Business Coming to Ninth Circuit, Courtesy of PETA

August 18, 2016 | News and Blog

Last year's "Most Ridiculous Lawsuit" - over the infamous "Monkey Selfies" - is still making its way through the court system. Read More »

Monkey Business Coming to Ninth Circuit, Courtesy of PETA

August 17, 2016 | News and Blog

Last year's "Most Ridiculous Lawsuit" -- over the infamous "Monkey Selfies" -- is still making its way through the court system. Read More »

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