Give me your trials, your plaintiffs,
Your huddled lawyers yearning for big fees.
We should erect a Statue of Liability at the county line and put these words on a plaque at the base of it. Instead of a torch and a tablet, the statue should brandish a wad of cash and clutch a briefcase.
This statue would capture the spirit of Madison County and serve as a beacon for attorneys oppressed by the less friendly judges and juries of other jurisdictions.
America may have set out a welcome mat for exiles, but Madison County set out one for asbestos litigants, and the wretched refuse have poured in.
Asbestos suits accounted for 72 percent of the law cases filed in Madison County in 2015. There were 1,224 such cases filed here last year, down slightly from the previous year's total of 1,300.
Only 75 of last year's cases, roughly 6 percent, were filed on behalf of Illinois residents, only six on behalf of Madison County residents.
Madison County law firms filed the majority of the cases, with Simmons Hanly Conroy of Alton responsible for 331 (27 percent) and Gori Julian and Associates of Edwardsville 316 (26 percent).
As the immigration debate rages in this year's presidential election and Americans consider the economic and cultural impact, positive and negative, of a great continuing influx of foreigners, residents of Madison County should also assess the effect that litigation immigration has on us.
After all, this is where we live. This is our home, our community, and we should be the ones to decide whether or not our courts remain magnets for plaintiffs from other counties and states.
It's not a question of being hostile to outsiders. We're happy to have visitors. We want people from other places to come here and enjoy the things that we take pride in. But we don't want to be taken advantage of, and we don't want Madison County’s reputation to be the joke of nation’s legal system.