Grow Louisiana Coalition has come out with a series of videos highlighting issues that the energy industry faces here in Louisiana. The first of the UnTapped videos highlights the “judicial hellhole” that is the Pelican State.
Excessive civil tort costs take a toll on Louisiana’s taxpayers and economy
New data shows lost jobs and revenue in state’s major metropolitan areas
Baton Rouge, LA — Following the start of the legislative session this week, Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch released data measuring the impact of excessive civil court costs on the state’s economy in the New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport and Lafayette Metropolitan Statistical Areas. These local impacts were derived from a statewide study conducted by The Perryman Group for Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse last fall using extensive survey data, industry information and a variety of corroborative source material. The results are clear – Louisiana continues to lose jobs and revenue because of the state’s civil justice system.
In the Greater New Orleans area, excessive tort litigation costs residents $512 million in personal income annually and results in a loss of 7,034 jobs each year. Excessive costs result in an annual “tort tax” amounting to about $647 per person. Direct costs absorbed by residents and businesses amount to nearly $487 million annually and more than $832 million in gross product is lost due to litigation costs.
The Capital Region is also paying the price for excessive civil litigation, with residents losing more than $170 million annually in personal income. Additionally, 2,976 jobs are lost every year and residents pay an annual “tort tax” of about $349 per person. Residents and businesses also absorb $206 million in direct costs annually and $296 million is lost in annual gross product due to tort costs.
Excessive litigation costs Acadiana area residents nearly $92 million in personal income each year, as well as an annual “tort tax” of about $276 per person. Each year, 1,659 jobs are lost. Nearly $115 million in direct costs is absorbed annually by residents and businesses. Tort costs result in nearly $137 million in lost gross product annually.
In Northwest Louisiana, Shreveport-Bossier residents miss out on more than $48 million in personal income annually as a result of lawsuit abuse. These excessive costs result in an annual “tort tax” of about $177 per person and every year 881 jobs are lost. Direct costs absorbed by residents and businesses amount to $61 million annually and a loss of more than $77 million in annual gross product.
“This new data demonstrates the devastating impact of lawsuit abuse on the four largest MSAs in Louisiana, making the case for civil justice reform as a statewide priority. Frivolous lawsuits and exorbitant plaintiff awards impact all sectors of our economy and hurt Louisiana families, forcing costs to be passed down through higher prices for goods and services,” said LLAW Executive Director Lana Venable. “Legislation has been filed to address lawsuit abuse, including instruments dealing with trial lawyer advertising, jury trial threshold and admissibility of seat belt use in court.”
As the statewide study last fall found, the total current impact of excessive tort costs on the Louisiana economy amounts to estimated losses of $1.1 billion in annual direct costs and $1.5 billion in output (gross product) annually. About 15,556 jobs are lost when changes in the economic system over time are considered. All major industry groups are negatively impacted, with retail trade, business services, health services and other service industries showing the greatest losses. As of 2018, yearly fiscal losses are estimated at $76.4 million in state revenues and $64.3 million to local governments. These effects are based on the current size of the state’s population and economy and can be expected to rise over time in the absence of meaningful civil justice reforms.
“From increasing local involvement in coastal lawsuits to Louisiana’s disproportionate number of auto injury claims, our culture of excessive lawsuits continues to be a drain on Louisiana’s residents and economy,” said Louisiana Coalition for Common Sense Executive Director Jim Harris. “Louisiana currently has the highest insurance rates in the country.”
According to the report, “tort reform can lead to substantial economic benefits, and states that have implemented reforms have seen improved judicial efficiency and measurable advancement in economic performance.” Civil justice reforms that have resulted in the greatest reduction in losses are those aimed at reducing frivolous lawsuits, capping appeal bonds, setting negligence standards and limiting non-economic damages. These reforms have been shown to enhance innovation and increase productivity, as well as to improve judicial efficiency and economic performance.
Louisiana was ranked 50th in the US Chamber Institute for Legal Reform’s 2017 Lawsuit Abuse Climate Survey, which measures the reasonability and balance of each states’ tort liability systems. Louisiana also moved up three spots from number eight to number five in the 2018-19 Judicial Hellholes Report issued by the American Tort Reform Foundation and received an “F” Grade on the 2018 R Street Policy Insurance Regulation Report Card.
About Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch (LLAW)
Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch (LLAW) is a high-impact watchdog group with nearly 20,000 supporters across the state dedicated to fixing Louisiana’s broken legal system through transparency, accountability and lawsuit reform. Visit us on Facebook, Twitter (@ReformLouisiana) and www.llaw.org. About the Louisiana Coalition for Common Sense (LCCS) The Louisiana Coalition for Common Sense (LCCS) is a group of professional associations, companies and individuals committed to ensuring a fair legal climate for both truly impaired individuals and small and large businesses operating in Louisiana.
About The Perryman Group (TPG)
An economic and financial analysis firm, The Perryman Group (TPG provides clients with well-documented, carefully considered answers to even the most complex questions. For more than 30 years, The Perryman Group has met the challenges of thousands of clients through a systematic approach and a level of performance that assures a consistent standard of excellence. The firm has been involved in scores of major events shaping the economic landscape, from crucial corporate locations to landmark legislation to important regulatory policies to notable judicial decisions.
Recent developments in Terrebonne Parish should be alarming to all Louisiana citizens – especially those along the bayou whose local rights are being overstepped by overzealous trial attorneys and state government overreach. A dangerous precedent is being set with the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources’ recent appointment of the parish district attorney to conduct damage assessments alleged from oil and gas development in the parish. This is clearly an effort to bypass local elected leadership in outsourcing enforcement responsibility of state and local permits to private lawyers – the same lawyers who stand to benefit financially from their findings. Motivated by self-interest, these hired guns have no regard for the potential impact of lawsuits on thousands of area residents who depend on industry for their livelihoods.
Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch opposes coastal lawsuits because they attempt to stretch the law beyond its intent while ignoring critical facts and involving private lawyers in a space meant for democratically elected decision makers. Targeting the deep pockets of the energy industry does not guarantee that any resulting monetary awards will actually be used for restoration activities.
In this instance, LDNR is putting the cart before the horse by charging the district attorney to develop these models before the department has even identified permit violations – much less investigated any alleged abuses. With such complex issues, a mere comparison of aerial photographs as the basis to determine damages will not provide a complete or accurate picture. Instead of signing on to pursue lawsuits, Terrebonne has already begun to review coastal use permits in the parish.
Parish President Gordon Dove and Lafourche Parish President Jimmy Cantrelle have made it abundantly clear they are not interested in pursuing litigation that singles out an industry that is a major job and revenue creator.
There is a proper role for good regulations that protect the public and for lawsuits that enforce them. But our system of checks and balances breaks down when lawsuits are substituted for policy. It is past time to work together toward constructive solutions - and leave the trial lawyers out of it.
Lana Venable, Executive Director
Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch
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.
“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.
LABI: National Report: Households in Louisiana Forced to Pay Some of the Highest Lawsuit Costs in the U.S.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Baton Rouge (Oct. 24, 2018) – Today, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) released a study that reveals the total cost of the U.S. tort system is staggering. The ILR report, Costs and Compensation of the U.S. Tort System, estimates the total cost of tort litigation in each state, totaling $429 billion nationwide in 2016.
Closer to home, the cost of lawsuits in Louisiana are among the highest of any state. Families and businesses in Louisiana were forced to pay nearly $7 billion in expenses related to tort litigation in 2016 - equivalent to more than $4,000 for every Louisiana household. The impact on the Louisiana economy ranks among the top five states in the nation, as litigation costs equate to almost three percent of the state’s GDP.
The ILR report further shows the largest share of Louisiana’s tort costs are a result of automobile accident cases, ringing in at almost $3.4 billion in 2016. Year after year, the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) has supported a series of reform bills in the Louisiana Legislature to address this issue and bring costs down for Louisiana businesses and families but faces strong opposition from allies of an entrenched trial bar.
Today, LABI president and CEO Stephen Waguespack joined ILR in Washington for the launch of the report, speaking on a morning panel at the 2018 Legal Reform Summit. The experts took a deep dive into the cost of tort litigation for the average American family and how Louisiana shapes up compared to the rest of the country. Joining Waguespack on the panel was Paul Hinton, Principal of the Battle Group. The panelists were interviewed by Connie Lewis Lensing, Senior Vice President of the Legal Department at FedEx.
“On the heels of yet another negative report, we are staying focused on solutions,” stated LABI president and CEO Stephen Waguespack. “The costs of lawsuits profoundly impacts the ability of Louisiana employers to create jobs and for workers to keep more of their own hard-earned money. Reform to Louisiana’s legal system is a top priority going into next year’s important state election cycle.”
Waguespack continued, “Louisiana must take the opportunity to learn from this latest report. Not just about how our state can be stronger, but what these costs mean for Louisiana wallets and what other states are doing in this arena to ensure plaintiffs have access to a fair system without penalizing all businesses and households. The reality is that lawsuits are not just a technical issue that dies in the state legislature every year; this is a real-world problem that our businesses and families are fighting every day.”
Earlier this year, the ILR ranked Louisiana 51st in the country behind the District of Columbia for the worst legal climate in the nation. The new ILR report focuses specifically on the cost of torts paid in the U.S. tort system, using data on liability insurance premiums and estimates of the liability exposure of businesses and individuals that are uninsured or self-insured.
To read the report, click below:
Costs and Compensation the U.S. Tort System:https://www.instituteforlegalreform.com/research/2018-costs-and-compensation-of-the-us-tort-system
About the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry
The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry was organized in 1975 to represent Louisiana businesses, serving as both the state chamber of commerce and state manufacturers association. LABI’s primary goal is to foster a climate for economic growth by championing the principles of the free enterprise system and representing the general interest of the business community through active involvement in the political, legislative, judicial and regulatory processes. Find out more information at http://www.labi.org
Baton Rouge, LA — Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch (LLAW) today released the 2018 Economic Benefits of Tort Reform, an assessment measuring the impact of excessive civil court costs on Louisiana’s economy. The study, conducted by The Perryman Group for Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA), found that Louisiana is losing jobs and revenue because of the state’s civil justice system. The assessment included extensive survey data, industry information and a variety of corroborative source material. The Perryman Group analyzed outcomes in the state using Ohio, which has engaged in notable tort reform in the recent past, as a benchmark.
The total current impact of excessive tort costs on the Louisiana economy amounts to estimated losses of $1.1 billion in annual direct costs and $1.5 billion in output (gross product) annually. About 15,556 jobs are lost when dynamic effects are considered. All major industry groups are negatively impacted, with retail trade, business services, health services and other service industries showing the greatest losses. The yearly fiscal losses (as of 2018) are estimated at $76.4 million in state revenues and $64.3 million to local governments. These effects are based on the current size of the state’s population and economy and can be expected to rise over time in the absence of meaningful civil justice reforms.
The assessment found that an inadequately balanced justice system can be counterproductive. A system that generates exorbitant levels of damages or numbers of awards may result in negative impacts through the misallocation of society’s scarce economic and human resources. Some of these negative effects include increased costs and risks of doing business in an area; disincentives for innovations which promote consumer welfare; enhanced incentives to file lawsuits of questionable merit resulting in increased inefficiencies; higher insurance premiums than would exist under a more balanced approach; and increased health care costs and declining availability of medical services, among others.
“These findings clearly show that civil justice reform must be a priority in Louisiana. Frivolous lawsuits and exorbitant plaintiff awards impact all sectors of our economy and hurt Louisiana families, as costs are ultimately passed down to them in the form of higher prices for goods and services,” said LLAW Executive Director Lana Venable.
Civil justice reforms that have resulted in the greatest reduction in losses are those aimed at reducing frivolous lawsuits, capping appeal bonds, setting negligence standards and limiting non-economic damages. These reforms have been shown to enhance innovation and increase productivity, as well as to improve judicial efficiency and economic performance.
According to the assessment, when working properly, the judicial system provides a critical institutional framework that provides a fair and equitable forum for resolving disputes, compensates plaintiffs who have been legitimately harmed and deters undesirable behavior.
“A healthy legal system should ensure fairness for both truly impaired individuals and small and large businesses operating in Louisiana. Imbalances in the system lead to unpredictability for consumers and businesses, costing jobs and resulting in constrained economic growth,” according to Louisiana Coalition for Common Sense Executive Director Jim Harris.
Louisiana was ranked 50 th in the US Chamber Institute for Legal Reform’s 2017 Lawsuit Abuse Climate Survey, which measures the reasonability and balance of each states’ tort liability systems. Louisiana also earned the number eight ranking in the American Tort Reform Foundation’s 2017-18 Judicial
Hellholes Report based on systematic application of civil laws and court procedures.
About Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch (LLAW)
Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch (LLAW) is a high-impact watchdog group with nearly 20,000 supporters across the state dedicated to fixing Louisiana’s broken legal system through transparency, accountability and lawsuit reform. Visit us on Facebook, Twitter (@ReformLouisiana) and www.llaw.org.
About the Louisiana Coalition for Common Sense (LCCS)
The Louisiana Coalition for Common Sense (LCCS) is a group of professional associations, companies and individuals committed to ensuring a fair legal climate for both truly impaired individuals and small and large businesses operating in Louisiana.
About The Perryman Group (TPG)
An economic and financial analysis firm, The Perryman Group (TPG provides clients with well-documented, carefully considered answers to even the most complex questions. For more than 30 years,
The Perryman Group has met the challenges of thousands of clients through a systematic approach and a level of performance that assures a consistent standard of excellence. The firm has been involved in scores of major events shaping the economic landscape, from crucial corporate locations to landmark legislation to important regulatory policies to notable judicial decisions.
By Lana Venable, Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch Executive Director
Some things never change – it’s been another long, hot summer in Louisiana, and aggressive plaintiff’s attorneys continue to pull out all the stops to advance what has become a cottage industry – unfounded lawsuits. A seemingly endless array of billboards along Louisiana roadways introduce drivers to many of the state’s trial lawyers, promising quick cash to sue and quickly settle accident claims.
From abusive litigation that impacts consumers to plaintiff-friendly judges handing out large payouts, Louisiana has earned a longstanding reputation as one of the most litigious states in the country. It should come as no surprise that the Pelican State has consistently garnered one of the top spots in the American Tort Reform Foundation’s annual Judicial Hellholes Report.
Unfounded lawsuits hurt businesses, both large and small, while generating exorbitant fees for attorneys. But many people don’t connect that these contingent fees and large plaintiff awards drive up the cost of doing business. Consequently, we customers are at the lower end of the stick are paying the price with drastic increases in prices for products and services.
Our state is home to a prime example – the high cost of auto insurance. Last year, Louisianans paid the second-highest auto insurance rates in the U.S., with an annual average premium of around $1,920. Most Louisiana drivers are uninsured or underinsured, which encourages drivers involved in accidents to sue. To compensate for this onslaught of lawsuits, Louisianans who do carry insurance are forced to pay higher premiums. Not only are drivers feeling the effects, but insurers are as well – several companies have left Louisiana over the past two years due to the unprofitability of the auto insurance industry.
Auto lawsuit abuse affects everyone in this state. On top of that, Louisiana has also earned the distinction of having the nation’s highest jury trial threshold, while 36 states have no threshold at all. Put simply, this means that Louisiana civil cases valued at less than $50,000 are tried without benefit of a jury. In these cases, a judge, rather than a jury, determines a verdict. This simply gives plaintiff-friendly local judges too much power over lawsuit outcomes. Perhaps it is no coincidence that 53 percent of claims in Louisiana are under $50,000, allowing trial lawyers to go “judge shopping” for favorable venues and denying many citizens their fundamental right to a trial before a jury. A settlement is often agreed to without risk of going to court.
Another area of concern is the rising number of claims targeting small businesses for minor violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Data from 2016 shows the filing of disability-access complaints in Louisiana has increased more than 360 percent from 2011 – 2016. Money-seeking plaintiffs typically target local and state governments, shopping centers and other small businesses and file claims without giving notice to the defendants. The businesses of Louisiana towns do not have a chance or the opportunity to resolve the slight issue and instead are faced with the high cost of defending themselves against frivolous lawsuits. In many areas, this trend has forced many small business owners to close shop. This shameful approach violates the spirit in which this important statute was written.
These are just a few examples of how deeply our legal climate is flawed. This state should look to improve these policies to drive down costs for consumers and businesses and contribute to the its overall economic health.
As a first step, it’s not too early to begin thinking about the historic turnover in the Legislature next year, with more than a third of the current body term-limited. LLAW urges concerned citizens to get engaged in the process to reform our legal climate and use your votes to turn up the heat in 2019.
Baton Rouge, LA — Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch (LLAW) has announced that Lana Sonnier Venable will become its next Executive Director. LLAW is a local non-partisan, nonprofit, citizen watchdog group dedicated to stopping lawsuit abuse that hurts Louisiana’s families and threatens local businesses and jobs. Venable will be responsible for conducting campaigns to raise awareness about the costs and consequences of lawsuit abuse and helping pass legislation to improve the state’s legal climate.
A veteran public affairs professional, Venable is an LSU graduate bringing 25 years of experience to LLAW, most recently as ExxonMobil public and government affairs advisor in Baton Rouge. During her 11 years in this role, she worked in in the areas of media relations, community outreach, government relations and issues management. Her previous experience includes serving as Louisiana Economic Development Press Secretary following Hurricane Katrina, as well as government relations roles with American Cancer Society and American Heart Association. She also held positions in the non-profit sector in Washington, D.C. and Atlanta.
Venable replaces Melissa Landry, who has led the organization since 2009.
“Lana is a strategic thinker and skilled communicator with a proven track record of cultivating effective relationships with community and business leaders, as well as policy makers. I cannot think of a better person to take over and lead LLAW at this critical time,” said Landry, who is returning to the private sector.
“I believe in LLAW’s mission and look forward to engaging with stakeholders at all levels to continue the progress made toward meaningful tort reform in Louisiana. Our state’s future depends on our ability to retain and attract diverse employers that provide opportunities for all Louisianans and grow our economy. The trial bar should not be a cottage industry in Louisiana,” said Venable.
About Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch:
Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch (LLAW) is a high-impact watchdog group with nearly 20,000 supporters across the state dedicated to fixing Louisiana’s broken legal system through transparency, accountability and lawsuit reform. Learn more at www.llaw.org.