The Record expands coverage to St. Clair County

By Ann Knef | Jan 12, 2005

St. Clair County's Courthouse

Since the The Record began covering civil litigation in the Third Judicial Circuit several months ago, our readers have demanded more.

So, in this new year, our audience--a local and national composite of legal professionals, business owners and average citizens--will get its wish as we expand our reporting to St. Clair County's 20th Judicial Circuit.

The Record's coverage of St. Clair County will include:

  • Judicial appointments

  • $50,000+ civil lawsuits

  • Class action filings

    As always, The Record encourages guest commentary and letters to the editor.

    Last month, St. Clair County's dubious distinction as the American Tort Reform Association's No. 2 "judicial hellhole" did not go unnoticed by the Record's editorial staff.

    And it certainly wasn't lost on U.S. President George W. Bush when he visited Collinsville earlier this month to deliver a policy address on tort reform.

    "A recent study ranked Madison County the number one place in the country for trial lawyers to sue, and that's a ranking I'm sure you'd like to get rid of," President Bush said.

    "Those of you traveling in from St. Clair County aren't doing much better. St. Clair is ranked the second county in America where you're likely to get sued. In other words, if you see a team of trial lawyers spending a lot of time in the Collinsville area, you can be pretty sure they're not looking for horseradish."

    The Record is curious about what's going on in our state courts--why was St. Clair County singled out among others in the country? There is, the Record believes, a market of readers who also want to know.

    While many dispute ATRA's report--St. Clair County Chief Judge Jan Fiss among them--the fact that the number of class action lawsuits has dramatically risen in the county is indisputable.

    "ATRA is a biased little group who loves to take their shots," Fiss said last month after ATRA's report was issued. "I’m not sure why Clair County has made the list of worst judicial hellholes.”

    Others expressed no surprise at St. Clair County's ranking, including former Republican St. Clair County Board member Joe Behnken, an outspoken critic of the county's courts and leadership.

    "There is no magic line between Madison County and St. Clair County," he said. "The powerful Democratic machine is controlling the conduct of the courts through money. How goes Madison County goes St. Clair County."

    And now The Record goes to both of them. Thanks for your encouragement and support.

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