Travis Akin Feb. 6, 2014, 9:32am

Wisconsin recently made headlines with the news that the state has a budget surplus of nearly $1 billion. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker credited lawsuit reform, which was recently enacted there, as one of the reasons for his state’s turnaround.

The story in Illinois, though, is dramatically different. Illinois’ unemployment rate of 8.9 percent is the fourth highest in the country. A forecast from the Pew Charitable Trusts says Illinois will have one the worst rates for job growth in the country this year.

Illinois also ranks 46th out of 50 states for legal fairness in a recent report from the non-partisan Harris Research Company. Illinois’ lawsuit climate ranked beneath every bordering state including: Indiana (14), Iowa (10), Kentucky (38), Missouri (34), and Wisconsin (15).

According to the recent “Judicial Hellholes” report from the American Tort Reform Foundation, Madison and St. Clair Counties are ranked jointly as the nation’s fifth-worst “judicial hellhole,” while Cook County was placed on the “Watch List,” ATRF’s second tier of “judicial hellholes,” which the group defines as “jurisdictions that bear watching due to their histories of abusive litigation and which run the risk of dropping into the hellholes abyss.”

Illinois’ status as one of the country’s worst “judicial hellholes” makes it difficult to attract badly-needed jobs and opportunities because businesses look to move to places where the legal system is fair, and having one the most unfair lawsuit climates in the country is clearly keeping businesses and the jobs they bring from moving to Illinois.

The only people happy with the status quo are the personal injury lawyers who strike it rich playing the lawsuit lottery in Illinois’ legendarily plaintiff-friendly courts. And now the personal injury lawyers are pushing their allies in the Illinois General Assembly to pass new legislation that will lead to more lawsuits filed here.

Illinois needs to create jobs, not lawsuits, which is why legislators need to hear from their constituents who don’t want to see Illinois become even more friendly to lawsuits and less friendly to job creation.

Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch recently launched a new campaign called “Stopping Lawsuit Abuse Starts With You.” In addition to encouraging people to serve on juries when called and to take personal responsibility for their actions, this campaign also urges people to make their voices heard in Springfield by contacting their legislators.

Illinois cannot afford to fall further behind our neighboring states our lawsuit and job growth climate. Don’t let the personal injury lawyers be the only voices heard in Springfield. Stopping lawsuit abuse in Illinois truly does start with you.

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Springfield, IL 62707

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