No jurors were selected to hear any of the cases, which were set to be presided over by Associate Judge Stephen Stobbs.
In a review of 279 of the cases set for trial on Aug. 10, a total of 24 claimants were Illinois residents, or 8.5 percent; and, seven plaintiffs were Madison County residents, or 2.5 percent of the total.
By comparison, claimants from Ohio (20) and Texas (17) had more trial settings than persons from Madison County, as well as combined more than Illinoisans in this docket.
The Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch (I-LAW) called the trial docket “eye-opening evidence” supporting the need for state legislators to pass legal reform legislation in Gov. Bruce Rauner’s ‘Turnaround Agenda.’
“This staggering number of asbestos cases set for trial in Madison County, almost all of which are from plaintiffs who have no connection to Madison County, shows that greedy personal injury lawyers are continuing to try to game the system to get rich at our expense,” I-LAW Executive Director Travis Akin stated in the release.
“… This obvious abuse of our courts underscores the urgent need for need for (sic) legislation to pass the common sense venue reforms proposed by Governor Rauner as part of his ‘Turnaround Agenda.’ Metro-East legislators should stand up to the wealthy personal injury lawyers and stand with the small businesses and individual citizens who are paying the price for living in the ‘Lawsuit Abuse Capital of America,’” Akin continued.
Most of the cases set for trial - 278 of 316 - were filed in 2013 and 2014. Of the remaining cases, 28 were filed in 2012; eight were filed in 2011 and one was filed this year.
The vast majority of cases (271) were brought on behalf of claimants suffering from mesothelioma, a rare but deadly form of cancer believed to be caused by exposure to asbestos.
Of the 279 cases reviewed on the trial docket, the Simmons firm of Alton represented most at 178; the Maune firm of St. Louis represented 59; the Shrader firm in Glen Carbon represented 28; Napoli of Glen Carbon represented five; Gori and Julian in Edwardsville represented four; the Goldenberg firm of Edwardsville represented two; and O'Brien of St. Louis, Lanier of Houston and Flint of Edwardsville represented one each.