The state of the State of Illinois is anything but rosy.
The state is still operating without a budget and people are leaving the state in droves. According to a report last January from United Van Lines, the Land of Lincoln is third on the list of states people are leaving. Only New York and New Jersey rank higher on this list.
Governor Bruce Rauner wants to change course and make Illinois a destination for jobs and opportunities. In his recent State of the State address, the Governor rightly identified lawsuit reform as a priority, because without common sense lawsuit reform that will restore fairness and common sense to our courts, we are going to continue to see an exodus of jobs and opportunities from the Land of Lincoln to neighboring states with a more friendly business climate.
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 Illinois.
It is just common sense to require lawsuits filed in Illinois to have an actual connection to Illinois, and yet in one Illinois county, 98 percent 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 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, so being ranked as one of the three worst states in the country for legal fairness is hurting our ability to keep and create jobs here.
As the governor said to legislators in his State of the State address, “I understand that trial lawyers are putting pressure on you to keep the status quo, but if we don’t offer a competitive environment for businesses, pretty soon the trial lawyers won’t have any more businesses to sue.”
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 Illinois courts, stop lawsuit abuse, create jobs, and put money back in consumers’ pockets.
The time for action is now.