The Making of a Hellhole

Published March 1, 2006

What Judicial Hellholes have in common is that they systematically fail to adhere to core judicial tenets or principles of the law. They have strayed from the mission of being places where legitimate victims can seek compensation from those whose wrongful acts caused their injuries.

Weaknesses in evidence are routinely overcome by pre-trial and procedural rulings. Product identification and causation become “irrelevant because [they know] the jury will return a verdict in favor of the plaintiff.” Judges approve novel legal theories so that plaintiffs do not even have to be injured to receive “damages.” Class actions are certified regardless of the commonality of claims. Defendants are named, not because they may be culpable, but because they have deep pockets or because they will be forced to settle at the threat of being subject to the jurisdiction. Local defendants may also be named simply to oust federal courts of jurisdiction. Extraordinary verdicts are upheld, even when they are unsupported by the evidence and in violation of constitutional standards. And, often, judges allow cases to proceed even if the plaintiff, the defendant, and the witnesses do not live in the Judicial Hellhole Jurisdiction, and the allegations of the lawsuit have little or no connection to the area in which it was filed.

Reprinted from Judicial Hellholes 2005, American Tort Reform Association