President Trump is right to try to lower drug prices here at home. It is a travesty that other nations get access to U.S. innovation at cut-rate prices — much lower than what Americans pay. For example, the Health and Human Services Department reports that a senior who receives an eye medicine that currently costs Medicare $1,800 a month is charged only $300 a month in many other nations. A popular chemotherapy drug costs Medicare $4,700 for each treatment here in the U.S. but only $1,100 in other nations. HHS estimates that Americans pay “180 percent of what other countries pay for physician-administered drugs.” Something is seriously wrong here.
Americans for Tax Reform: Conservatives Oppose HHS International Pricing Index for Medicare Part B Drugs
For the ninth consecutive year, Louisiana has been named one of the nation’s Judicial Hellholes® by the American Tort Reform Foundation. The organization’s annual report spotlights the worst legal climates in the country. This year, Louisiana moved up three spots in the rankings from number eight to five. Why is it the Pelican State seems to come in near the top of every “bad” list and lands near the bottom when it comes to the “good?”
The 2018-19 report highlights the state’s hiring of contingency-fee lawyers to target energy companies and the legislature’s failure to address lawsuit abuse as key factors in Louisiana’s reputation as a “judicial hellhole.” Louisiana was also among the top 10 states for lawsuits in federal court this year claiming small businesses are violating the American with Disabilities Act. Additionally, the state’s excessive direct tort costs amounted to $1.1 billion and resulted in a loss of more than 15,000 permanent jobs in 2018.
Louisiana’s notoriety as a “judicial hellhole” should come as no surprise. Lawsuit abuse affects everyone. Consumers pay the price in increased costs for goods and services. For example, Louisiana is the second most expensive state for auto insurance, where premiums have increased significantly for four consecutive years. In 2017, the annual average premium was $1,921 in Louisiana compared to the national average of $1,427 New Orleans is the second most expensive city to insure a vehicle in the country, and Baton Rouge isn’t far behind at number five.
The number of auto accidents and claims in Louisiana is generally consistent with the other states, but bodily injury claims are nearly twice the national average. Many Louisiana drivers are uninsured or underinsured, which encourages turning to the court system for larger accident payouts. As a result, Louisianans are forced to pay much higher premiums.
The Judicial Hellholes® report also criticizes state lawmakers’ failure to pass legislation this year that would have made evidence a person was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of an accident admissible in court. Current law does not allow this essential information to be considered when determining damage awards. This is only one example of the common-sense solutions to fight lawsuit abuse that would help make auto insurance more affordable for hardworking families.
In addition, Louisiana also has the nation’s highest jury trial threshold. Civil cases with claims valued at less than $50,000 are tried by judges, not a jury. Thirty-six states have no jury trial threshold, and of those that do, the amount is considerably lower.
Let’s hope the Louisiana Legislature can implement these and other legal reforms next year and break the state’s streak as a “judicial hellhole” before it hits the decade mark.
Lana Sonnier Venable
Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch (LLAW)
Governor Edwards’ litigious attacks against oil and gas industry contribute to poor legal climate
Dec. 4, 2018 (WASHINGTON) – Today, the American Tort Reform Foundation released its annual Judicial Hellholes report and named Louisiana as the No. 5 Judicial Hellhole in the country.
Louisiana earned its way into the Top 5 through the state’s hiring of contingency-fee lawyers to target energy companies and the legislature’s failure to address lawsuit abuse.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, a former trial lawyer, came into office and quickly hired campaign donors and trial lawyer colleagues to represent the state in more than 40 lawsuits against energy companies. Governor Edwards filed the lawsuits after the companies would not comply with his ultimatum demanding that they spend billions of dollars restoring the eroding coastline of the Pelican State.
“The evidence that oil and gas exploration is solely to blame for coastal erosion simply does not exist,” American Tort Reform Association President Tiger Joyce said. “These lawsuits have done nothing to solve the issue but instead only created unnecessary job loss for Louisianans.”
Louisiana posted the worst economic performance in the country in 2017 according to the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis, and was one of just three states in which the economy shrank.
Governor Edwards is not the only Louisianan needlessly filing lawsuits. The state also is a hotbed for lawsuits claiming small businesses are in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The claims often involve serial plaintiffs and are filed without giving notice to the business owner, denying them the opportunity to address the issue outside of court.
“Lawsuits like these against small mom-and-pop businesses are wrong,” Joyce said. “These are folks who don’t have access to full-fledged corporate legal teams. They are good people who want to serve their customers, but instead, trial lawyers are taking them to court and putting small business owners through the ringer.”
As of June, Louisiana was among the Top 10 states for these types of lawsuits in federal court in 2018. The problems don’t end with frivolous lawsuits – Louisiana also has the second-most expensive auto insurance rates in the country. Fifty-five percent of Louisianans drive uninsured or underinsured, encouraging drivers to turn to the courts for larger payouts when accidents occur. Trial lawyers then work behind the scenes to drive up payout costs on even the most minor fender benders, which then forces the insurance companies to increase rates year after year.
Louisiana’s legislature had the opportunity to pass legislation addressing these litigation abuses, which would have made evidence that a person was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of an accident admissible in court. The current law in Louisiana does not allow the jury to consider this evidence when determining damage awards. The bill passed the House but died in the Senate.
“Louisiana finds itself in a bad cycle of trial lawyers driving up insurance costs, drivers then being unable to afford the necessary auto insurance, and then going to court to seek payouts,” Joyce said. “Revisiting and passing this commonsense piece of legislation would be a step in the right direction to address Louisiana’s high insurance rates and help make auto insurance more affordable for hardworking Louisianans.”
A recent report states that excessive tort costs in Louisiana resulted in a loss of more than 15,000 permanent jobs as of 2018 in addition to $1.1 billion in annual direct costs.
The full ranking of the nation’s Judicial Hellholes are:
New York City
Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas
New Jersey Legislature
Madison and St. Clair Counties, Ill.
Twin Cities, Minn.
To view the full report and read further updates throughout the year, visit JudicialHellholes.org.
About the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA): The American Tort Reform Association, based in Washington, D.C., is the only national organization dedicated exclusively to tort and liability reform through public education and the enactment of legislation. Its members include nonprofit organizations and small and large companies, as well as trade, business and professional associations from the state and national level. The American Tort Reform Foundation is a sister organization dedicated primarily to research and public education.
In the three decades since working those fields, Landry has used that work ethic to help himself achieve a lifetime of goals. Landry graduated from college, worked as a sheriff’s deputy, served in the Louisiana Army National Guard, received his law degree and passed the bar, opened his own business, served in the United State Congress and was elected as Louisiana’s Attorney General.
Read more: Plenty of work to do
“These kind of lawsuits will only continue to move Louisiana in the wrong direction and further weaken the state’s struggling economy, which has lost thousands of jobs and major manufacturing projects in recent years,” Venable said.
Remember when Jim Acosta made a complete ass off himself and, as a result, has his White House Press credentials revoked? Where, here is a reminder of Acosta claiming that these “migrants” were not invaders and would not be jumping walls.
The overlaid video footage by Benny Johnson of The Daily Caller is pure gold.
While most of the nation is breathing a sigh of relief that the federal elections are over, for now, Louisiana politicos woke up on November 7th with one reality: the race for Governor starts now. That's right folks, we are officially in the 2019 electoral cycle. Sure, pieces of this puzzle started coming together months ago, but now plans and preparations, for what will no doubt be a highly contested governor's race, will be sent into over drive.
The race for Louisiana's top job will quickly take shape over the next few weeks. Governor Edwards will officially announce his intent to seek re-election, Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone will officially kick off his campaign, and Senator John Kennedy will make a final decision before the end of the month.
With his approval rating currently sitting in the area of 40%, JBE will stop at nothing to avoid a repeat of Governor Blanco's "one and done" experience. He will pull out all the stops to ignite his base and reaffirm his position with the trial lawyers that helped secure the 4th floor of the state capitol for him in 2015. He will continue to cozy up to his union cronies, push for teacher pay raises, and sacrifice the abundance of Louisiana's natural resources by way of destroying our economy to satisfy the leftist, liberal activist, like General Honore's GreenARMY, that have swept the state during his first term.
We have already seen evidence of this detrimental partnership when the administration caved to environmentalists demands when they forced the Governor’s hand to nix the plans of Explosive Services International (ESI) to keep the burn chamber at Camp Minden functioning. And then again when he put a stop to plans to bring another burn chamber to the Slaughter area. This project, which had major, bi-partisan support from local officials, would have provided high quality jobs to a rural area.
One has to wonder how many companies, with high quality, blue collar jobs, are going to pack their bags? We have already seen companies refusing to reinvest in Louisiana because of the legal climate that the Edwards Administration has fostered. Between the legacy lawsuits that run rampant, the lack of corporate tax incentives, and the eroding quality of life in Louisiana, is it really any surprise that the Pelican state suffers from an out-migration issue?
If all this sounds a little doom and gloom, it’s probably because it is. Don’t let that 40% approval rating make you comfortable. The trial lawyer money is flowing, the environmental activists are activated and ramping into full gear for 2019 and this show is just getting started. Conservatives need to unite behind one candidate and beat John Bel. A rerun of the 2015 Republican primary will only help assure the Governors re-elect.
Chris Gary - Cajun Conservatism
Today, Louisiana Republican officials across the state joined together to express support for Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin in his runoff election scheduled for December 8, 2018. Members of the executive branch of Louisiana, and the Republican members of the Congressional delegation, announced their endorsements of Secretary Ardoin for the December 8 runoff.
“It is vital that we keep a conservative Republican as our Louisiana Secretary of State. We cannot afford a liberal progressive in that office who would weaken our voter ID laws and undermine the integrity of our elections,” Republican Party of Louisiana Chairman Louis Gurvich said. “It's critical that all Louisiana Republicans show up to support and vote for Secretary of State Ardoin on December 8. No one should take this election for granted!”
“Look at what’s happening in Florida and Georgia, where the incompetence of local election officials is casting serious doubt on the results of the elections in those states. This cannot be allowed to happen in Louisiana. I will continue to ensure the security of our elections, and fight the radicals who wish to change our election laws,” declared Secretary of State Ardoin.
Secretary Ardoin placed first in the November primary. Early voting for the runoff election takes place November 24-December 1, and Election Day is December 8.
The list of Republican officials who have endorsed Secretary Ardoin are as follows:
Republican Party of Louisiana
Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D.
Senator John Kennedy
Congressman Steve Scalise
Congressman Ralph Abraham
Congressman Clay Higgins
Congressman Mike Johnson
Attorney General Jeff Landry
Treasurer John Schroder
Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Mike Strain
Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon