Tiger Joyce: December 8, 2020

 COVID-19 Exacerbates Lawsuit Abuse in Nation’s Judicial Hellholes


Sherman “Tiger” Joyce

President of American Tort Reform Foundation


The 2020-2021 Judicial Hellholes report ranks nine Judicial Hellholes while shining a light on lawsuit abuse and its effects. Judicial Hellholes are deemed the most unjust local courts and state civil justice systems in the country. The Judicial Hellholes report digs into several concerning trends in the civil justice system and specifically highlights the surge of COVID-19 lawsuits. It also explains the increase in artificially inflated damage amounts, called phantom damages, spurred by medical finance companies and trial lawyers issuing letters of protection to medical providers as a sort of “insurance” that they’ll be paid after a personal injury trial. The report further highlights the American Law Institute’s shift toward activism.


In spite of the pandemic, Judicial Hellholes pushed forward, allowing trial lawyers to continue abusing the civil justice system. Several state AGs took a more activist approach in their offices and expanded the applicability of public nuisance laws to envelop new societal issues. In Judicial Hellholes, they attempted to regulate various industries through litigation, abused laws meant to protect our most vulnerable by filing frivolous claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act, allowed outside parties to fund lawsuits, and awarded outrageous, high-dollar verdicts.


The total cost of the U.S. tort system is approximately $373.1 billion as of 2019. The Judicial Hellholes report highlights costs and inefficiencies in the tort system. At a local level, these costs result in job loss, personal income loss, and state revenue loss due to the excessive tort costs in the states. The data demonstrates the need for a more balanced civil justice system. 


On December 8th, Sherman “Tiger” Joyce, President of the American Tort Reform Foundation, will be available for interviews to discuss which states need the most judicial reform and what can be done to effect change in the court system.


Top 9 Judicial Hellholes (Alphabetically Ordered)

  • California
  • Georgia
  • Cook, Madison & St. Clair Counties, Illinois
  • Louisiana
  • New York City
  • Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina’s Asbestos Litigation (New in 2020)
  • City of St. Louis
  • Twin Cities, Minnesota




ATRF is a District of Columbia nonprofit corporation, founded in 1997. The primary purpose of the Foundation is to educate the general public about how the American civil justice system operates; the role of tort law in the civil justice system; and the impact of tort law on the private, public and business sectors of society. It is a sister organization of the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA). Founded in 1986, ATRA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization and is the nation’s first organization dedicated exclusively to reforming the civil justice system through education and legislative enactment. ATRA acts as a nationwide network of state-based liability reform coalitions backed by 142,000 grassroots supporters. ATRA works to bring greater fairness, predictability and efficiency to America’s civil justice system. Those efforts have resulted in the enactment of state and federal laws that make the system fairer for everyone.


Speak Your Mind