Heather Isringhausen Gvillo Feb. 10, 2015, 12:35pm

The Illinois Civil Justice League welcomes John Pastuovic as its new president.

Pastuovic said that as the new president, he plans on continuing the fight for legal reform in Illinois.

“We’re going to be continuing to bang the drum,” he said.

Pastuovic officially took over the role on Feb. 1 and will be responsible for implementing the overall direction of the organization while working with the board of directors to make sure the agenda is fulfilled, he said.

Former president Ed Murnane will carry on as an advisor and will continue to provide the ICJL’s news updates every day.

Pastuovic has been working full time with the ICJL for just over a year while preparing to succeed Murnane as president of the organization.

He has been involved with ICJL for roughly 15 years in the capacity of his PR and marketing firm, John Pastuovic Communications, Inc. As a result of the transition, he said he has restructured his firm so that his former role there will be “diminished.”

Pastuovic said the ICJL is “very pleased” with Governor Bruce Rauner’s recent election, saying their legal reform goals are aligned.

“We’re excited about Governor Rauner’s agenda and there’s an understanding that Illinois needs a reasonable venue reform,” Pastuovic said. “That he’s going to address medical malpractice reform and that he is talking about the need to cap unreasonable judgments. That’s a conversation that we need to have. That’s a conversation that’s been missing for the last couple of years.”

Pastuovic elaborated by saying that Rauner seeks to address venue reform, medical malpractice reform, liability requirements and “merit-based judicial reform.” The governor also seeks to include an amendment on the 2018 ballot, which would place a cap on “unreasonable judgments”

“It’s not going to happen overnight,” he said, “but it’s great to have a governor who understands why civil justice reform is needed in Illinois.”

As for Madison County's asbestos court, Pastuovic said he thinks steps towards venue reform could “go a long way to addressing the out-of-control asbestos issue going on in Madison County right now.”

He added that Illinois has suffered as its businesses packed up and moved out, taking jobs and taxes with them. But he anticipates Rauner will help bring businesses back to Illinois.

“For too long businesses both small and large have been subjected to an unfair legal system,” which has hindered their ability to compete, he said.

“Obviously, the election of Governor Rauner is really going to give us an opportunity to refocus and redirect our efforts,” he added. “We feel that civil justice reform is a critical component to create more jobs in Illinois. We are extremely happy that Governor Rauner believes that, too.”

Pastuovic, 54, worked as the Deputy Regional Political Director for the Republican National Committee until 1990 when he became a spokesperson for the Illinois State Police until 1995. He started his own business in 1995 when he established his PR and marketing firm.

Pastuovic and his wife, Sue, have two sons, Jack and Michael, and have been married since 1992. Jack is studying business at Indiana University and Michael is a freshman in high school. In his free time, he said he enjoys baseball and watching his son beat him at golf.

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