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Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch says state ‘at a critical juncture’ regarding legal system reforms

February 5, 2019
By Carrie Bradon
Originally Posted on The Louisiana Record

A group of Louisiana-based business associations recently hosted a luncheon to discuss changes they believe are necessary to improve the legal environment in the state.

Paramount among the concerns raised at the luncheon was that of improving the business climate in the state, Stephen Waguespack, CEO of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI), told the gathering, a Jan. 24 posting on said.

One of the organizations helping to sponsor the event was the Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch (LLAW). Lana Sonnier Venable, executive director of LLAW, in an interview with the Louisiana Record, recently explained why bringing about positive change for the business community is so important in the new year. 

"Louisiana is at a critical juncture in 2019 with historic elections that will result in an unprecedented number of new legislators," Venable said. "Civil justice reform should be a key issue for candidates – they must be clear on their positions when it comes to protecting the hard-earned dollars of Louisiana taxpayers."

Currently there are many barriers that stand between state residents and true justice due to the poor legal climate in which some key evidence has been classified as inadmissible in courts, such as whether or not a seat belt was in use during an accident.

"Reducing or eliminating the current jury trial threshold, imposing regulations to curb misleading trial lawyer advertising and making evidence of seat belt use admissible in court cases are a few common-sense reforms that would help move Louisiana in the right direction," Venable said. 

Venable said Louisiana residents are imposed with a "hidden 'tort tax'" which is over $4,000 for each household in the state; these costs contribute to the second-highest insurance rates in the nation. 

"It’s important that LLAW and other like-minded organizations work together to ensure Louisianans have the facts about lawsuit abuse and what it’s costing them," Venable said.

Other sponsors of the luncheon included the Louisiana Coalition for Common Sense and the Grow Louisiana Coalition.