It was a bad dream, a nightmare.

We dreamt we were living in a judicial hellhole, and the abuse of our legal system by greedy and unscrupulous plaintiffs and their lawyers was driving productive businesses away, undermining our economy, and destroying opportunities for ourselves and our children.

It seemed so real, this hellhole our once peaceful and prosperous community had become. The evidence for it was plain to see and the damage it was doing everywhere on display. Study after study confirmed its existence and documented the harm being done.

We had to do something to turn things around. We had to save our community. But how? The forces arrayed against us were powerful and they liked living in a hellhole. They didn't want things to change. Who would help us fight these fatcat opportunists?

Suddenly, we feel someone shaking us, consoling us, telling us everything is okay. All we have to do is wake up. Then, we'll see there is no hellhole. We've just imagined the whole thing. Everything is fine.

When we wake up, we see John D. Cooney, president of  the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, smiling down at us. Cooney is the one who's freed us from the nightmare.

He sees the study on the night table next to our bed, Litigation Imbalance III, and recognizes it as the cause of our torment.

The study shows that lawsuits are filed in Madison County at double the rate of Cook County, triple the rate of St. Clair County, and six and a half times the rate of all other  Illinois counties combined. It concludes that our high rate of litigation, particularly our asbestos docket, is driving away businesses that could help revitalize our local economy.

Cooney dismisses the report as “junk science” and “a distorted view of the Illinois court system.”

We should be relieved. Instead, we have the strange feeling that we're still in our nightmare and Cooney's part of it.

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