To the Editor:
Up to this point, I have not responded to any of Mr. Chapman’s claims because none of them directly referred to me. Lately, that has changed. Even though Madison County’s Medical Malpractice Mediation Program has a success rate of nearly 42 percent for settling cases, he claims it is a weak antidote for a problem we judges created. Mr. Chapman either misunderstands the facts or intentionally is trying to fool the voters for some personal gain or glorification that I do not fathom. When I ran for office in 2006, I said that if elected I would promote more mediation in order to open communications between parties to lawsuits to help them settle their disputes on their own terms prior to going to trial. Within 6 months of being elected, I chaired a committee that established a mediation program for medical malpractice cases. Our committee consisted of Chief Judge Ann Callis, Associate Judge Steve Stobbs, Associate Judge Tom Chapman and me. We met with local doctors in Alton and Troy, the administrators of Anderson Hospital, the leaders of the Illinois State Medical Association and members of the trial bar that represent patients and doctors here in Madison County. After these meetings and upon our recommendations, our mediation program was approved by the Illinois Supreme Court in 2007.
The nay-sayers refuse to recognize a successful program. Not only are 42% of the mediated cases completely settled, nearly 50% of the mediations result in at least partial settlement. I promised to propose ideas to help litigants reach settlements through mediation. This program is working. I have held up my part of the bargain.
Apparently, the business and medical communities agree. Judge Callis, Judge Knight and I have been endorsed for retention by the Illinois Civil Justice League, a pro-business group that includes in its membership, the Illinois State Medical Society; the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians; and the Illinois Hospital Association. Ed Murnane, President of the Illinois Civil Justice League, said that Judge Callis and I have “acted boldly to reform” our courts while noting that medical malpractice filings are down by more than half in Madison County. He noted that local doctors realize this and that he hears no calls from the medical community to oppose us. Mr. Murnane further stated, “we’re amazed by the number of defense attorneys who praise Judge Hylla for his fairness” and that I showed my “commitment to reform by leading the county’s medical malpractice mandatory mediation program”. Those are words from a group that supported my opponent 6 years ago.
I run on my record. The Illinois State Bar Association Poll has given me ratings of 94.97% for Integrity, 96.23% for legal ability and 98.09% for sensitivity to diversity and bias. My rulings have been reviewed in three opinions published by the Appellate Court. I was affirmed in all three cases. Even those opposing retention have failed to criticize any of my court decisions.
I certainly don’t want anyone to think I am breaking my arm by patting myself on the back, however, I feel it is imperative to clear up any attempts at misinformation and make sure the voters have a clear understanding of the facts.
A Yes Vote for Retention would send a message that the informed voters of Madison County want us to continue our efforts to improve our judiciary and, above all else, provide equal access to a fair and impartial Court for everyone.
David A. Hylla, Circuit Judge, Candidate for Retention
David A. Hylla, Circuit Judge
Candidate for Retention