Wooden judge gavel, close-up view.

New York Holds its Position as a “Judicial Hellhole” in 2024

Perhaps unsurprisingly, New York City — and New York City Asbestos Litigation or NYCAL — continues to hold its position as a judicial hellhole in 2024.

However, New York City was once ranked second; it is now ranked third, so perhaps this can be considered an improvement. The 2023-2024 Judicial Hellholes report is intended to shine a spotlight on nine jurisdictions that have earned reputations as Judicial Hellholes for various reasons.

As of July 2023, asbestos litigation filings increased more than 30 percent year over year. New York City courts continue to serve as the third most popular jurisdiction for asbestos litigation. Talcum powder filings now make up nearly 20 percent of all asbestos-related lawsuits filed in New York. New York is only beaten in the number of filing by Madison and St. Clair counties in Illinois.

South Carolina’s asbestos litigation made its initial appearance on the Judicial Hellholes list in 2020. The state has a consolidated docket for its asbestos litigation. It has earned a reputation for bias against corporate defendants, unwarranted sanctions, low evidentiary requirements, liability expanding rulings, unfair trials, severe verdicts, a willingness to overturn or modify jury verdicts to benefit plaintiffs, and frequent appointment of a receiver to maximize recoveries from insurers.

Included among this year’s list, Illinois earned a dishonorable mention by the 2024 Judicial Hellholes report due to Illinois remaining the venue of choice for asbestos claims. Madison, St. Clair, and Cook County remain a hotspot for asbestos claims. Madison County specifically, hosts nearly a third of all asbestos lawsuits filed nationwide with out-of-state plaintiffs making up a large percentage of the cases seen. These counties attract plaintiffs from across the country due to their favorable litigation environments. While asbestos claims continue to fall nationwide, plaintiffs’ firms continue to choose these counties as their preferred destination.

It will be interesting to observe which jurisdictions remain on the judicial hellhole in the upcoming year; maybe New York City will continue to decrease within its rankings.

Read the full report here.