End of the year lawsuit crunch inundates Mississippi courts

Mississippi lawyers rush to meet filing deadline.

The State of Mississippi, long hailed as the lawsuit capitol of the planet, went through an end of the year lawsuit crunch as thousands of last minute lawsuits were filed across the state before new civil justice reform laws went into effect on January 1, 2003.

The reason for the mass filing of civil cases had to do with the new laws that go into effect limiting jury awards. The laws were passed during an 83-day special session and signed into law by Governor Ronnie Musgrove. The tort reform legislation was in direct response to complaints that Mississippi’s image as a place for “jackpot justice” has scared off businesses and medical professionals.

Most county clerks reported the lawsuits filed in December were large tort cases, mostly pharmaceutical and asbestos related lawsuits.

One Jackson lawyer actually filed about 150 lawsuits in the last two days of December, more than he often files in a year.

“We have to look out for the best interest of our clients,” Simon said.

Simon said if attorneys don’t look out for their clients, they may wind up a defendant in a client’s lawsuit.

Source: The Jackson Clarion Ledger, 1-01-2003.