By: Chandra Lye
BATON ROUGE — A gas and oil industry spokesperson claims that Louisiana's reputation and its legal climate have affected the growth of the industry, and legal reformers have said they are not surprised by the state's low ranking in a recent legal survey.
The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform’s "2017 Lawsuit Climate Survey" recently placed Louisiana in the 50th spot.
Jordan Gleason, a spokesperson for the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association told the Louisiana Record that part of the problem was the tone set by the leaders in the state.
“Our governor is actively pursuing similar litigation against oil and gas companies and also encouraging coastal parishes to join in and sue these oil and gas companies," Gleason said. "If they don’t he is going to do it on their behalf."
Gleason also said the impact of the state’s reputation has damaged the oil and gas industry.
“When you look across the United States and you see in the increase in the oil and gas activity and you look at Louisiana, particularly south Louisiana, our numbers are stagnant," he said. "There is no growth."
“It is very unfortunate but this is something that Louisiana oil and gas industry has been dealing with for years,” he added.
Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch (LLAW) and the Coalition for Common Sense (CCS) have said they were not surprised by the results of the survey.
“Litigation is a growing industry in Louisiana,” Melissa Landry, LLAW executive director, said in a press release. “From problematic venue laws, to widespread judicial misconduct, a lack of transparency in asbestos litigation and trust claims, broad misuse of consumer protection laws, and the highest jury trial threshold in the nation—there are many troubling aspects of our legal system that contribute to the perception that it is difficult, if not impossible, for some to get a fair shake in our courts.”
Jim Harris, CSS director, said in the release that Louisiana’s reputation for being litigation-friendly has only gotten worse in the past few years.
“We cannot continue to ignore this problem and hope it goes away," Harris said. "Until the governor and state lawmakers tackle these issues head on and enact meaningful legal reform, we will continue to be pegged as a judicial hellhole and new business and economic opportunities will continue to pass us by.”