December 17, 2014

"Judicial Hellholes" report ranks California at number two, citing recent punitive damages decision

The American Tort Reform Foundation's released its annual "Judicial Hellholes" report yesterday.  As usual, ATRF does not have kind things to say about the administration of civil justice in California. 

The report names California as the second worst jurisdiction in the nation in terms of fairness to defendants in civil litigation (behind the New York City asbestos docket).  The report offers a variety of reasons for that assessment, most of which are beyond the scope of this blog (e.g., that our courts have made it too easy for plaintiffs to "rifle the deep pockets of corporate defendants" in public nuisance actions, asbestos lawsuits, disability-access lawsuits, etc.) 

The report intersects with the focus of this blog when discussing Izell v. Union Carbide, in which the Court of Appeal recently affirmed an $18 million punitive damages award in a published decision.  The report highlights the dissenting opinion of Justice Kitching which, as we have noted, could attract the attention of the California Supreme Court as well.  (The discussion of Izell appears on page 14 of the report.)