LOS ANGELES -- A study being released Tuesday characterizes Los Angeles County's civil court system as an ATM for unscrupulous attorneys and litigants -- a place where "everyone is a victim of discrimination and everyone gets paid."
The study by the Washington, D.C.-based American Tort Reform Foundation describes the county's civil court system as one of seven "judicial hellholes" nationwide and ranks it the sixth-most-unjust, the Daily News reported.
"Shakedown lawsuits brought against small businesses under the Americans with Disabilities Act and otherwise astonishingly excessive verdicts are again making Los Angeles one of the places to be for personal injury lawyers," said foundation President Tiger Joyce.
"And a troubling number of large asbestos awards and one recent string of lawsuits stemming from a practical joke at a firehouse put the county over the top this year."
Last year, the city of Los Angeles paid $1.5 million to Tennie Pierce, a black firefighter on the receiving end of a prank in which dog food was mixed in with his spaghetti. Two white fire captains later sued, claiming they were scapegoats and subjected to discriminatory discipline and were awarded $1.6 million.
"In the end, it seems everyone is a victim of discrimination and everyone gets paid," the authors of the study wrote, the Daily News reported.
Los Angeles Superior Court spokesman Allan Parachini told the newspaper that the study was based on an "entirely subjective series of observations." He said that, with 1 million new nontraffic filings per year, "it's inevitable some people will be unhappy with the results of their litigation."