Christmas comes but once a year for most of us, but for the personal injury lawyers who have turned the Madison County courthouse into their own personally profitable playground, it’s Christmas every day.
That’s the conclusion of a new report a new national report from the American Tort Reform Foundation (ATRF), which named Madison County one of the “Five Worst Judicial Hellholes” in the country. ATRF defines a “judicial hellhole” as “a place where judges systematically apply laws and court procedures in an unfair and unbalanced manner.”
That statement is especially true of Madison County, where personal injury lawyers and the judges they spend millions to elect game the system so they win and we lose.
For far too long, Illinois has been a magnet for personal injury lawyers and plaintiffs from all over the country who clog our courts with junk lawsuits that have nothing to do with Illinois, all in the hopes of striking it rich playing our state’s plaintiff-friendly lawsuit lottery. These greedy personal injury lawyers have turned the “Land of Lincoln” into the “Land of Lawsuits,” and that is hurting job creation efforts throughout Illinois.
The solution is lawsuit reform. Governor Bruce Rauner has proposed common sense lawsuit reform legislation that includes a proposal that will stop personal injury lawyers from shopping around for the friendliest court jurisdiction, even if the lawsuit has nothing to do with that jurisdiction. This practice, often called ‘venue shopping,’ is all too common in Madison County, according to the “Judicial Hellholes” report.
It is just common sense to require lawsuits filed in Illinois to have an actual connection to Illinois, and yet in Madison County, 98% of the asbestos lawsuits filed there are for plaintiffs who do not live in that county. We need to create jobs in Illinois, not more lawsuits. Governor Rauner’s reasonable, common sense lawsuit reforms will create jobs and unclog our courts, which will speed the legal process for those with legitimate claims.
Another recent report, the 2015 Lawsuit Climate Survey, conducted by Harris Poll, also ranked Illinois near the bottom of the nation in terms of its lawsuit environment – 48th worst of the 50 states. The survey also ranked Madison County the third-worst city or county for lawsuit fairness.
The survey results came from interviews of more than 1,200 corporate lawyers and senior executives at companies with more than $100 million in revenue. More than 75 percent of the business leaders surveyed by Harris Poll for this report say lawsuit climate is a “significant factor” in determining where to expand and grow.
Is it any wonder Chief Executive magazine ranks Illinois the worst state in the nation for business?
The evidence is clear. Illinois lawmakers need to embrace the reforms Governor Rauner has proposed. Being a national destination for lawsuits is costing Illinois jobs. Businesses look to create jobs in places where the legal system is fair. Being home to one of the worst judicial hellholes in the country is hurting our ability to turn the Illinois economy around.
Illinoisans should contact their legislators and ask them if they will stand with the personal injury lawyers, who are the only ones who profit from this unfair system, or the small businesses and individual citizens who are far too frequently targets of unfair frivolous lawsuits and are made to pay for personal injury lawyer greed.
By standing up to the personal injury lawyers and passing common sense lawsuit reforms, legislators will restore fairness to Metro-East courts, stop lawsuit abuse, create jobs, and put money back in consumers’ pockets.
For more information on the “Judicial Hellholes” report and I-LAW’s efforts to restore common sense and fairness to Metro-East courts, visit I-LAW’s website at www.ILLawsuitAbuseWatch.org.