Earlier this year, we published a letter to the editor from Paul Napoli, arguing, in effect, that Madison County’s continuing status as a judicial hellhole is a good thing.

“Revenues are increased for the court system in terms of filing fees and for the community in terms of restaurants, hotels, other businesses and vendors (court reporters, shippers, document management, office supplies, to name but a few) serving the local and transient legal community and the court system,” Napoli gushed. “Most of all, Madison County residents should be proud to know their community and Court system are helping those victims and their families whose malignancies, whether mesothelioma or lung cancer, will eventually lead to their death.”

Oddly enough, the biggest beneficiaries of all – plaintiffs attorneys – were not included in his otherwise comprehensive catalogue. We found that odd, because Napoli is senior partner in a law firm that last year accounted for one third of the record 1,678 asbestos- related cases filed in Madison County.

If he doesn’t know how much plaintiffs attorneys benefit from our plaintiff-indulgent courts, who does?

We got a good laugh out of Napoli’s illogical hellhole boosterism and figured no one could top this whopper.

After all, the only thing sillier than a hellhole booster would be a hellhole denier, someone insisting that our hellhole status is a fiction made up by a vast right-wing conspiracy determined to sacrifice our legal rights on the altar of corporate profit.

This Wednesday we published a letter to the editor that did just that.

“Illinois has its share of problems, but so-called ‘lawsuit abuse’ is not one of them,” insists John D. Cooney. “When front groups for big business spin bogus studies layered with false and distorted claims about our state’s civil justice system, remember their prevailing aim: maximizing profit.”

As president of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association and one of the wealthiest asbestos attorneys in America, Cooney would know whether or not there’s lawsuit abuse in Illinois.

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