The new executive director of Illinois Lawsuit Abuse (I-LAW) is beginning his crusade by taking aim at personal injury attorneys who hope to get rich by playing the "lawsuit lottery."

"Unfortunately, personal injury attorneys are aggressively recruiting people to sue" said David Knowles of Edwardsville. "They don't care if it harms our health care system.

"When there are multi million dollar injury awards, that's not play money," he said. "That's real money someone has to pay."

Knowles replaces Steve Schoeffel as the Metro-East's watchdog group's new leader. Knowles previously worked for the American Heart Association in St. Louis and for the Illinois House Republican staff in Springfield.

Frivolous malpractice lawsuits are reducing access to health care, Knowles said. But, he added, educating citizenry is the key to change.

"Doctors are leaving the area and innovation is being held back," he said. "New medicines aren't being produced and there was a shortage of flu vaccines because some manufacturers have been sued out of business.

"We all are paying for lawsuit abuse."

Knowles is hopeful that the state legislature will pass a medical malpractice reform bill this session and he encourages people to continue to pressure their legislators.

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