On April 20, a news report from the British Broadcasting Corporation revealed that Apple Inc. could track the location of iPhone users through the iOS 4 operating system. On April 29, an Illinois resident working with a Metro East lawyer proposed a statewide class action against Apple Inc.
All it took was nine days for lawyers in the Metro East to begin the process of starting a class action lawsuit. Isn't it amazing how a report comes out and in only nine days, plaintiffs' attorneys have already started work on building a class action lawsuit. No one even knew that Apple Inc. was tracking locations until just a few weeks and suddenly lawyers are lining up to sue. The facts are still coming out on the Apple controversy, but the litigation industry has already sprung into action.
Cookie cutter class action lawsuits such as this one are unfortunately a way of life in our litigious society and certainly they have been a way of life in the Metro East for years. It really should not be all that surprising to find a Metro East connection to what will undoubtedly become yet another cookie cutter class action lawsuit that will provide little compensation to the plaintiffs but a windfall of cash to the lawyers.
Despite a few recent improvements in the legal environment in Madison and St. Clair Counties, the region continues to be a destination for plaintiffs' lawyers all across the country looking to win the lawsuit lottery.
Specifically, Madison County continues to be a destination jurisdiction for asbestos cases from all across the country. In fact, in the first quarter alone, there have 154 asbestos lawsuits filed in Madison County.
And in recent months, the issue of out-of-state asbestos cases has become a growing concern in St. Clair County. Last December former Circuit Judge Patrick Young accepted four mesothelioma cases from Missouri, Indiana, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania a day before he was set to retire. Currently, Fifth District appellate justices are in the process of making a decision on whether or not the cases will remain in St. Clair County.
The legal climate in Madison and St. Clair Counties is no laughing matter. The culture of lawsuit has an impact that goes beyond the courtroom. As the two counties inch closer and closer to once again becoming full-fledged "Judicial Hellholes," the local economy continues to flounder.
The unemployment rate of 10.2 percent in St. Clair County and the 9.2 percent unemployment rate in Madison County are both higher than the 8.8 percent unemployment rate statewide.
What the Metro East region needs is jobs – not more lawsuits.