Travis Akin Jan. 22, 2013, 6:54am
Breaking a record in sports is a big deal. When a player breaks a record it is something significant and when a player shatters a previous record, well people really take notice.
Take San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for example. He recently set the record for the most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single game with his 181-yard rushing performance against the Green Bay Packers. He not only set the record for the most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single game, but he also shattered the previous record of most rushing yards by a quarterback in a playoff game by more than 60 yards.
Madison County, which is currently ranked the nation’s third worst “Judicial Hellhole,” has just set a record of its own. In 2012 the number of asbestos case filings in Madison County not only went up, but the previous high of 953 asbestos cases in a single year was shattered by more than 600 asbestos case filings.
It is one thing to break the previous record but what happened last year obliterated all previous records with asbestos case filings in Madison County. There cannot be any doubt that Madison County’s reputation as a “Judicial Hellhole” is a well-deserved one.
According to the 2012 “Judicial Hellholes” report, “there simply is no justification for a jurisdiction with .0008 percent of the nation’s population to handle 25% or more of its asbestos cases. Even worse is the fact that only about 1 in 10 of the county’s asbestos cases is filed by people who actually live or work there, and asbestos claims comprise roughly 60% of all lawsuits seeking more than $50,000.”
Think about this for a moment. Madison County has a tiny fraction of the nation’s population but yet more than 25 percent of the country’s asbestos litigation is handled in Madison County and the vast majority of the cases filed there have little or nothing to do with Madison County.
Yes, Madison County continues to set records in asbestos lawsuits but unlike Colin Kaepernick’s record setting performance, no one is celebrating Madison County’s achievement – except perhaps the personal injury lawyers who flock to Madison County to file their junk lawsuits.
The time has come for Madison County to be known as something other than one of the worst “Judicial Hellholes” in the country. What Madison County residents need are more jobs – not more lawsuits.
Let’s set a new record in Madison County in 2013. Instead of being mired down as one of the nation’s worst “Judicial Hellhole,” Madison County needs to set a record for being the quickest jurisdiction in the nation to go from a “Judicial Hellhole” to a point of light for reform. Now that would be one record we all could celebrate.