New Jersey has been ranked by the American Tort Reform Foundation as a “Judicial Hellhole.”

According to the latest American Tort Reform Foundation update,  the state Legislature has distinguished itself as the most plaintiff-friendly legislature in the nation.

Alida Kass, the president of the New Jersey Civil Justice Institute, said a lot of legislation that gets passed in the Garden State encourages people to file lawsuits.

She said that creates a really significant problem because “you’re putting a bounty on this litigation so you encourage a lot of it, so what you wind up with is a lot of shake-down settlements.”


Kass said this creates an unclear situation that encourages a lot of litigation and ultimately a significant amount of what she terms “shake-down settlements” because no one wants to risk losing a case and owing huge penalties.

“We’ve created a sort of model of jackpot justice, of the idea that when something bad happens, it’s a sort of lottery ticket for big money," she said.

She added the lawsuit-friendly landscape that’s been encouraged by the Legislature is one more reason for businesses to stay away from Jersey.

“That combination of massive penalties and unclear standards, it’s just inherently unpredictable," she said.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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