It is tale of two states – the “Show Me State” and the “Sue Me State.”
Missouri – the Show Me State – has responded to a growing lawsuit abuse epidemic there by moving swiftly this year to enact meaningful lawsuit reforms that will stop personal injury lawyers from filing junk lawsuits against employers. Thanks to the actions of the state legislature and Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, The Show Me State is showing the way.
Illinois – the Sue Me State – continues to allow powerful personal injury lawyers to game the system here to their personal advantage while their backers in the Illinois General Assembly continue to block common sense lawsuit reforms that will help keep businesses from fleeing our state. The Sue Me State is saying, “Sue away!”
Last December, the “Judicial Hellholes” report from the American Tort Reform Foundation ranked the City of St. Louis the worst Judicial Hellhole in the country. That same report named Cook, Madison and St. Clair Counties in Illinois among the worst Judicial Hellholes in the country.
This was the first time a Missouri county was ranked high on the Judicial Hellholes rankings, while Illinois has been home to multiple high-ranked counties for well over a decade.
Citing the Judicial Hellholes report, Missouri legislators moved quickly to remove the Hellhole moniker from the Show Me State.
In a press release highlighting the formation of a Special Committee on Litigation Reform, Missouri State Rep. Kevin Corlew stated: “Reining in our court system through lawsuit reform will help make Missouri a place where fear of needless litigation is not a disincentive to job creation.”
These legislators were encouraged to act by newly elected Governor Greitens, who understood the importance of passing lawsuit reforms that would restore fairness and balance to Missouri courts and keep businesses from leaving a state where the litigation climate is pro-personal injury lawyer.
In Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner likewise pushed for job saving lawsuit reforms after taking office, and yet he has been stymied by legislative leaders closely aligned with the personal injury lawyers time after time.
This favor to the personal injury lawyers is having a direct impact on job creation efforts in Illinois. According to the most recent “Lawsuit Climate Survey” conducted by Harris Poll, Illinois ranks near the bottom of the nation in terms of its lawsuit environment – 48th worst of the 50 states. More than 75 percent of the business leaders surveyed by Harris Poll for this report said lawsuit climate is a “significant factor” in determining where to expand and grow.
Illinois needs jobs – not more lawsuits. The Illinois General Assembly will likely be meeting throughout the summer, which means there is still an opportunity for lawmakers to enact the lawsuit reforms our state desperately needs and keep businesses from fleeing across the Mississippi River to Missouri.
The Show Me state is showing the way to reform – and rolling out the red carpet to businesses in Illinois that are tired of having a lawsuit target on their back. It is time for Illinois to stop being the Sue Me state and time to finally pass common sense lawsuit reforms.