NEVADA IS HEADED IN THE WRONG DIRECTION
With one of the worst legal climates in the nation the Institute for Legal reform ranks the state as 37th out of 50 for the state’s lawsuit climate – a downward slide from 28th place in 2010. After the Health Plan of Nevada lawsuit, the Las Vegas Review-Journal declared Clark County to be the “undisputed jackpot justice capital of the world.” The newspaper accused the courts of being rigged, and that even the casinos offer more fair play. Furthermore, Clark County is on the American Tort Reform Association’s “Watch List” as a judicial hellhole.
THE COURTS AND LEGISLATURE IGNORE THE PROBLEM OR MAKE IT WORSE
It took a full blown crisis of doctors threatening to leave and taking medical malpractice reform to the ballot to get commonsense reform passed. We had to hit rock bottom before the legislature addressed the problem.
THREATS TO JOINT AND SEVERAL LIABILITY
In 2013, the personal injury bar and its friends in the legislature almost succeeded in passing a joint and several liability bill that would have allowed defendants in a lawsuit to be targeted as “deep pockets” and be held liable for the full amount of damages regardless of how much they were actually at fault. Other states have recognized how unfair this is and have been improving their laws. Nevada’s legislature would have gone in the opposite direction away from fairness. Our courts encourage lawsuits too. The Nevada Supreme Court’s ruling to vastly expand premises liability and hold businesses and landowners liable for people who ignored obvious dangers and then hurt themselves has increased the threat of lawsuits and spurred a surge in slip and fall personal injury lawyers.
MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ABUSE
The infamous Health Plan of Nevada lawsuit, the Clark County District court handed down a huge $500 million verdict holding it liable for the actions of a physician despite the state’s comparative negligence laws. The Las Vegas Review-Journal called the case “embarrassing,” blaming the trial bar’s response to the case and the judiciary’s eagerness to “enable lawsuit lotteries.”
TAKING ADVANTAGE OF CONSTRUCTION DEFECT
Nevada is ground zero for a cottage industry of construction defect lawsuits that are making a lot of personal injury lawyers rich while leaving homeowners worse off than before they sued. There are so many lawsuit that a separate court had to be created just to handle them.
MORE LAWSUITS, FEWER JOBS
These are all very troubling signs that Nevada is choosing a path that encourages lawsuits and the serves the interests of personal injury lawyers more than it does the average person. If we can continue down this path we’ll only cement Nevada’s reputation as a state that cares more about creating lawsuits that enrich a few than it cares about creating a fair legal climate and jobs that benefit us all. Already our economy is lagging compared to our neighboring states, while the lawsuit economy seems to be booming.