Travis Akin (left) and West Frankfort Mayor Marion Presley

MARION - The Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch (I-LAW) organization announced its involvement in a new campaign featuring two southern Illinois mayors who denounce lawsuit abuse.

According to an I-LAW press release, West Frankfort Mayor Marion Presley and Herrin Mayor Vic Ritter will be featured on the Internet as part of a national education campaign to raise awareness about the cost and consequences of lawsuit abuse.

I-LAW Executive Director Travis Akin said the national "Project Lawsuit Abuse" video campaign, sponsored by the national website, features interviews with a variety of medical professionals, small business owners and local officials from across the country to highlight how lawsuit abuse negatively affects the economy, healthcare and municipal budgets.

Akin said Presley and Ritter were chosen because "they have a compelling story to tell and because they have been leaders on this issue."

Ritter said frivolous lawsuits are draining the city's budget and it is why he decided to help the Sick of Lawsuits campaign.

"We have as many as five lawsuits against the City of Herrin at any given time, and of those five probably four of them are frivolous," Ritter said. "Lawsuits are costing the taxpayers more and more money each year. This is money that could go to roads and other more worthwhile projects, like schools, roads and parks."

Presley also said that the cost of excessive litigation means an increase in the cost of insurance.

"Fighting lawsuits eats up almost 20 percent of our budget," Presley said. "Putting that much of the taxpayers' money towards fighting lawsuit abuse makes it that much harder to provide the high quality of service the people of West Frankfort expect and deserve. We clearly need to do something at the state level to reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits here in Illinois."

The videos with the two mayors, each of which runs approximately seven minutes, can be seen online at and at They will be the featured videos on the national website for at least the next month.

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