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Ron DeSantis praised for improving legal environment

Florida went from No. 2 to off the list after DeSantis was sworn in.

By Drew Wilson on December 12, 2019

After a decade on the list, Florida has slipped out of the top-10 in the American Tort Reform Association’s annual “Judicial Hellholes” list.

The Florida Justice Reform Institute attributes the drop to Gov. Ron DeSantis, primarily for his selection of new justices on the Florida Supreme Court.

“When Governor DeSantis appointed Justices Barbara Lagoa, Robert Luck, and Carlos Muñiz to the Florida Supreme Court, he immediately and dramatically improved Florida’s legal environment,” FJRI President William Large said.

“Governor DeSantis showed tremendous leadership by appointing judges who will say what the law is, not what they think it should be, and who show deference to the legislature as the rightful policymaking branch of government.

“Now, with the selection of Justices Lagoa and Luck to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Governor DeSantis has two more Florida Supreme Court appointments. Combined with the upcoming Legislative Session, Governor DeSantis has the opportunity to permanently stamp an incredible legacy on Florida’s legal environment,” Large concluded.

The American Tort Reform Association list evaluates jurisdictions, courts and legislatures in regards to litigation policies and “litigation tourism.”

This year, the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas topped the list. Also making the top-10 were California, Louisiana, Georgia and Oklahoma.

The sharp drop also earned DeSantis some praise from American Tort Reform Association, however it said it’s still keeping a close eye on the Sunshine State.

“A former No. 1 Judicial Hellhole, Florida took great strides toward improving its legal climate in 2019. Although there is much work to be done, the election of Governor Ron DeSantis (R) has heralded a sea change in Florida’s legal landscape, beginning with the appointment of several new Florida Supreme Court justices. This new court is deferential to legislative efforts to stop lawsuit abuse and poised to correct the course set by the prior activist court,” the association’s write up reads.