The Center for Justice and Democracy

Consumer Group Condemns Bogus “Hellhole” Report As Dishonest and Unfair

December 18, 2007

New York – The Center for Justice & Democracy (CJ&D) called the American Tort Reform Association’s “Judicial Hellholes 2007” report, “dishonest and unfair with apparently no other point other than to undermine the independence of our judges and juries.” In its report released today, ATRA once again launched an unsubstantiated attack on fair and independent courts based primarily on a survey of its own members that includes some of America’s worst industries - tobacco, insurance, chemical, and pharmaceutical - that have a direct financial stake restricting lawsuits when they injure or kill someone. Also attacked are public officials who stand up to these industries in order to protect the consumers in their states.

“This report is complete nonsense filled with anecdotal stories and media quotes, perpetuating myths that ATRA itself creates,” said Joanne Doroshow, Executive Director for CJ&D. “What ATRA really seems to hate is our system of government where judges and juries cannot be wined, dined and bought-off by corporate lobbyists like them. So they try instead to issue bizarre reports like this, throwing jurisdictions in and out for their own political reasons, and attacking judges and juries who are doing their jobs on behalf of average hard-working Americans.”

The ATRA report and others like it have been severely attacked over the years by credible scholars. Just this year, two West Virginia University professors Richard Brisbin Jr. and John Kilwein published an article that notes, “business interest groups and the media produce stories about abusive litigation that neglect important contradictory information, rely on erroneous information, make assumptions based on inaccurate anecdotes, or use inadequate evidence and slogans generated by the ‘research’ arms of interest groups who neglect normal standards and practices of empirical social scientific inquiry.”

"We reject this report and applaud our judges for doing their jobs by protecting us from corporations that do not always have the best interest of the average person in mind," said Donna Harnett of Chicago (Cook County), IL - one of the so-called "hellholes." Donna’s son, Martin, was injured at birth due to negligence, leaving him severely brain-damaged and requiring around the clock care. The ATRA report attacks the court in Donna’s hometown, Chicago (Cook County), that correctly struck down an unconstitutional cap on compensation for children like Martin.

Doroshow added, “With money and politics already dominating the executive and legislative branches, our court system is one of the only places left in America where injured citizens can successfully confront powerful industries and institutions and stop misconduct. The last thing we need are bogus attacks from groups like ATRA that threaten our courts.”

Contact: Joanne Doroshow
Amanda Melpolder (212) 267-2801


Center for Justice & Democracy is a tax-exempt, non-profit, non-partisan, public interest organization that works to educate the public about the importance of the civil justice system. CJ&D fights to protect the right to trial by jury and an independent judiciary for all. CJ&D is not tied to any business, political party, PAC or professional organization.

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Posted at 12:13 PM, Dec 18, 2007 in Tort "Reform" Myth-Busting
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Bogus attacks ???

The only thing bogus here is the alleged The Center for Justice & Democracy which is concerned with neither justice nor democracy.

Posted by: Paul W Dennis | December 18, 2007 7:15 PM

Please. This report is as real as New York's hair. It's real just like Spinal Tap was a real band. Remember their song Hellhole?

CJ&D aren't the only folks who question the validity of the report. and other resources questioning the validity of the "report": Here, and here .

Posted by: Kia | December 20, 2007 4:54 PM

Right, a local bar association and a local plaintiff attorney question biting the hand that feeds them. If that's the best sourcing you can do, it's an abosolute admission that judicial hellholes, like the Holocaust and Stalinist purges before them, exist

Obviously Kia, you have never worked on the side of defensing an individual or a small business against a meritless lawsuit that ends up costing money to defend.

Understand this Kia - if someone sues you and you end up spending $5000 to extract yourself from the litigation, or to successfully defend yourself ,you have been robbed as surely as if someone stuck a gun to your head and reached into your wallet.

The case for "loser pays" cannot be stated in more simple terms and those that cannot understand this simply are not intelligent enough to be allowed to practice law

Posted by: Paul W Dennis | December 20, 2007 8:36 PM

Paul: Kia is biased, and misleading. She cares nothing about accuracy of litigation, only rent seeking for the land pirates that pay her salary. I look forward to the day all cult criminals get justice.

For example, she cares nothing about the 95% of crimes going unpunished. She cares nothing that 20% of convicted people are innocent. She betrays her race in that the victims of violent crime are members of a minority, that the falsely convicted are members of a minority. Her own. Loyalty to the criminal cult enterprise trumps all others, including loyalty to family. She cares nothing that the overwhelming majority of torts claims are weak, and represent massive lawyer malpractice.

But, when there is a deep pocket employer, whoa, unproven allegations of criminal conduct get endless coverage here. Why? A money making lawsuit is as certain as the sunrise in the East tomorrow.

All lawyers are this way. To her credit, Kia does not censor loving criticism. Others will not tolerate loving criticism of their profession's core doctrines. Kia has courage and fairness, and we should appreciate her character. I see her as misled herself. By the lying indoctrination she underwent in law school.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | December 23, 2007 8:13 AM