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The Madison County Record Nov. 21, 2004, 3:54pm

Sen. Reid


East Alton Clout

Hearing soon-to-be Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) talk tough against federal tort reform last week, we wondered whether the SimmonsCooper Law Firm keeps a crystal ball around its East Alton office.

Reid, now chief of the Senate Democrats after the surprise November 2nd loss of Minority Leader Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD), has long been a regular on the SimmonsCooper corporate jet, our sources say.

And according to, Reid has a horde of Madison County fans.

Attorneys from SimmonsCooper made the firm Sen. Reid's fourth largest corporate contributor this past election cycle, giving $60,400 to the Nevadan.

That's less than multi-billion dollar casino giants MGM Mirage ($102,200), Mandalay Resort Group ($83,350), and Harrah's Entertainment ($67,100) but more than Park Place Entertainment ($31,850), Caesar's Entertainment ($36,465) and Nevada mega-miner Newmont Mining ($36,799).

It figures that Reid would be close with companies that rank as Nevada's largest employers. But a Madison County, Illinois law firm?

Here’s guessing that asbestos trust fund idea doesn’t pass without a fight.

Closing in

They call it ‘bicycling.’

It’s East St. Louis slang for the Election Day process whereby one will ‘bicycle’ from polling place to polling place, voting multiple times for extra cash. Election officials know who these voters are and play along.

That’s the story told The Record from a source intimately familiar with East St. Louis’ political organization. Our source expects “3-4 dozen indictments” forthcoming for voter fraud.

But that’s a prediction.

Here and now in St. Clair County, federal investigators are swarming for scalps. Word is they are uncovering a trove of information.

A 35th precinct poll watcher says he ‘meticulously’ counted every voter who came to the polls and got 331. Add nine absentee ballots and you'd have 340.

According to the East St. Louis Board of Elections, 360 votes were cast in the 35th precinct.

The rocks keep turning...

Return to Normalcy

Now that Lloyd Karmeier v. Gordon Maag is history and the medical malpractice reform debate is sizzling in Springfield, trial lawyers are dusting off their sharp tongues.

Out is that softer side “lawyers love doctors” campaign season slogan embraced by vote hungry pols like Maag. Candid and critical is back.

For instance, after Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Laney wrote that Southern Illinois has “had enough of doctors fleeing their area” ("Downstate voters give big yes to tort reform"-- Nov. 15), one of Chicago's most prominent trial lawyers called to complain.

"He told me that doctors aren't leaving Southern Illinois because of lawsuits, but because they are bad doctors," Laney told The Record.

Also last week, Chicago attorney and medical malpractice specialist Bob Clifford joined the doctor hit parade, telling the suburban Park Ridge Journal that nine out of ten malpractice incidents are never filed.

So nine out of ten doctor mistakes are ignored? We had no idea doctors made so many mistakes.

Color us pessimistic for a happy med mal compromise.


The Chicago Sun-Times reports that 44 year-old Steven Cyl of Chicago is suing his neighbor Lee Bauman for allegedly having an affair with Cyl's wife.

In Illinois' first "alienation of affection" lawsuit since who knows when, Cyl the husband said he filed the suit because he "(wants) them to admit they had an affair."

Cyl the wife, 48, left her husband for Bauman, 61, in June.

Just writing this for the consumption of Madison County's legal community, why do we feel like a parent giving their mall-bound teenage girl a no-limit credit card?

According to, "alienation of affection(s) is a legal action, a tort based on willful and malicious interference with marriage relations by a third party."

Once on the books in all states, the only ones that still allow this kind of tort are Hawaii, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota, and, of course, Illinois.

If it happens here, we'll be the first to report it.

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