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LA Ranked 2nd-Worst ‘Judicial Hellhole’ In US

Consumer class actions, multi-million-dollar awards cited
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(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — If you think the traffic is the worst thing in LA, you may want to stay out its courthouses.

A new study says Los Angeles County is home to some of the most frivolous lawsuits in the nation — a problem so widespread that it makes California the second-worst place in the U.S. to seek justice in the court system.

Known for its often-exorbitant awards and headline-grabbing consumer class actions, California has long been derided for its dubious legal findings, perhaps best encapsulated in this year’s $208.8 million verdict for a single asbestos claimant, the largest ever in state history.

John Sullivan with the Civil Justice Association of California gives some more examples of why the Southland has earned this ranking.

The American Tort Reform Association defines a “judicial hellhole” as a city or state “where judges systematically apply laws and court procedures in an unfair and unbalanced manner, generally against defendants in civil lawsuits”.

Since the group’s inception in 2002, the report focuses on six areas of the U.S. that have developed reputations for uneven justice and the economic consequences of such a reputation.

This year’s worst regions for justice:

1. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2. California (specifically Los Angeles and Humboldt counties)
3. West Virginia
4. South Florida
5. Cook County, Illinois
6. Clark County, Nevada

The report also calls attention to a number of potential “hellholes” around the U.S., including Atlantic County in New Jersey, New York City, and the District of Columbia.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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