Where's the resolve?

The Madison County Record Dec. 8, 2007, 7:00am

There was John Casson, the grown man suing a Collinsville water park because its staff neglected to "hold his hand" on a ride.

And Matthew Donithan, the clumsy Maryville houseguest seeking damages "in excess of $100,000" from his hosts after tripping on an extension cord powering their Christmas lights.

And the two sons demanding cash from the city of Edwardsville for not keeping its stop lights functioning during last December's epic ice storm/power outage.

And that was just this week.

Do you think Mascoutah Mayor Gerald Daugherty is on to something?

"Some things you read in the paper with people suing people, it's ridiculous," Daugherty said. "The whole world has gone crazy."

He's telling us.

Last week, Daugherty led his city council to pass a resolution demanding the Illinois state legislature do something about the craziness; about the shameless, greed-driven blame game that too often masquerades as a legitimate function of our civil justice system.

Daugherty's resolution urged lawmakers to enact "meaningful, comprehensive lawsuit reform to protect our county's employers, workers and consumers."

Its resolution passed unanimously. Daugherty wasn't surprised.

"I don't understand why anybody would not want to pass a resolution," he said.

Neither do we.

Of course, to powerful clout-peddlers like Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Collinsville), such constituent squealing barely registers. He answers to the local power brokers who put food on his table, and the folks in Springfield and Chicago keen to fuel his personal ambition.

But in places like Mascoutah-- from locally elected leaders who have earned their community's respect-- a resolution registers plenty. It's a call to action and attention-- evidence that regular folks have seen enough, and they want the madness to stop.

"Years ago people used to be personally responsible for their actions," Daugherty said. "Nowadays they're not. If I'm awkward and trip over something it's not my fault. It's someone else's."

So who's next?

To be sure, we understand Fairview Heights' excuse. But where are Collinsville and Edwardsville, Granite City, Belleville and East St. Louis? Why aren't they speaking up like Mascoutah?

Their city leaders don't agree that lawsuits are an issue? They don't care? They're too busy?

It behooves the rest of us to find out.

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