Time to get it right

By The Madison County Record | Feb 12, 2011

It's often hard knowing what to do about a problem

It's often hard knowing what to do about a problem. Knowing what not to do is generally easier. Obviously, you want to avoid doing anything that makes matters worse. But too often that's the very thing people do.

Knowing what not to do -- and not doing it -- are two different things.

Choosing the right strategy for revitalizing a state's economy can be difficult, too, but making the business climate even more inhospitable with higher taxes and unfriendly courts is clearly not the right approach. And yet, isn't that what our legislators and jurists here in Illinois have done too often in recent times?

Right now, Fifth District appellate justices are deliberating whether or not to make St. Clair County a national magnet for asbestos lawsuits, just like neighboring Madison County. Could there possibly be a worse thing to do?

Circuit Judge Patrick Young coyly accepted cases from Missouri, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania just a day before he retired last December. Then out-of-state defendants moved to dismiss in favor of more convenient courts. If the appellate justices uphold Young's usurpation of jurisdiction, St. Clair County will become Illinois' second plaintiff-friendly national asbestos docket.

Bad for us, but good for Belleville's Judy Cates, former president of the Illinois Trial Lawyers' Association and one of the co-filers of the suits in question.

One thing is certain: if the Fifth District Appellate Court decides in her favor, they're deciding against ours.

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