To the Editor:
The First Amendment protects the Illinois Civil Justice League’s right to call its tired and misleading 16-page propaganda piece a “study” if it wishes, but that makes it no more a work of credible research than calling a Corolla a Ferrari makes the Toyota a sports car.
The amount of donations made by trial lawyers to support candidates who believe that corporations, insurance companies, Wall Street banks, and extremely wealthy individuals should not be allowed to injure, kill or defraud everyday citizens is dwarfed by the tens of millions spent by big businesses that want to change Illinois’ laws so they avoid accountability when they hurt workers and prey on consumers.
Even if trial lawyers contributed what the Illinois Civil Justice League claims – a point that cannot be taken for granted given the questionable source and possibly suspect methodology – it pales in comparison to what one man, Bruce Rauner has spent on his own campaign and supporting candidates who subscribe to his dangerous agenda of reducing benefits for injured workers and shielding corporations from justice when their actions hurt others or pollute the environment.
Governor Rauner spent more than $63 million in one elections, versus the $35 million that trial lawyers are alleged to have donated to candidates over 15 years; in the 2016 election cycle, Rauner is practically the sole source of Republican funding, having given $16 million, or slightly less than half of the figure ascribed to trial lawyers over a decade and a half. There is simply no comparison to what Rauner, his fellow billionaires and businesses spend on elections compared to trial lawyers.
Ultimately, the objective of the Illinois Civil Justice League and its associated front groups is to unfairly shift the burden of caring for the injured, sick and exploited away from those who caused the wrongs and onto the backs of Illinois’ taxpayers. ICJL is promoting the interests of its funders, who want to boost corporate profits, senior executives’ salaries, and the value of their stock options at the expense of everybody else. They make the mess and leave the rest of us with cleaning bill.
The facts are that lawsuit filings across Illinois are down. The insurance industry’s cost of workers’ compensation is down. Illinois businesses do not cite the state’s court system as a significant factor in their evaluation of our business climate.
The Illinois Trial Lawyers Association and its members will continue to stand on the side of taxpayers and for the constitutionally protected rights of Illinoisans to access the courts their tax dollars fund.
Christopher Hurley, President
Illinois Trial Lawyers Association