Opinion: We need legacy lawsuit reform

05 16, 2012 by Daily Advertiser

Unfortunately the recent editorial, "Dump both legacy lawsuit bills" (May 11), does not reflect the reality that if our state leaders fail to address the legacy lawsuit crisis this Legislative session, the environmental cleanup of damaged properties will continue to languish, as they have for years, while a small group of politically-connected plaintiffs' attorneys will continue to get rich off the current system.

It is no secret that those who profit from legacy lawsuit abuse would prefer to maintain the status quo. Given their cash cow under present law, how could they ever be expected to, in good faith, negotiate away their ability to continue to milk the system?

If drilling has caused damage, it should be cleaned up quickly by the responsible party, but lawsuit scams should not be tolerated. A legislative clarification is needed to block continuing abuse and clean up our land as Act 312 intended. This is exactly what the House-passed bill by Rep. Neil Abramson (HB 618) and its companion by Sen. J.P. Morrell (SB 443) intend to do, and these bills deserve a fair hearing in the Legislature.

Louisiana's system for handling these abusive suits is broken, and our state leaders need to fix it now. They have already cost Louisiana citizens more than 30,000 jobs and $1.5 billion in wages over the past eight years. How much longer will we have to wait for reform?

Melissa Landry, Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch