In Illinois, Madison County and Cook County have made repeated appearances on the American Tort Reform Association’s annual Judicial Hellholes report. Since 2002, ATRA has identified and ranked the places where it feels judges in civil cases continually apply laws and court procedures in an unfair and unbalanced way, which generally hurts defendants. Madison and Cook counties ranked no. 7 on the 2017-2018 report.
“Madison and Cook counties have become perennial Judicial Hellholes known for disproportionate volumes of litigation and large verdicts,” the report says. “Plaintiff-friendly judges seem to dominate both jurisdictions in which defendants face uphill battles from their very first motions. And with the most relevant local and state politicians comfortably in cahoots with the powerful plaintiffs’ bar, prospects for positive reforms remain remote, even as these jurisdictions’ hyper-litigiousness works against economic growth and job creation, and makes it harder for both government and businesses to find affordable insurance.”
In Madison County specifically, asbestos filings continue to rise, asbestos trust transparency reform is needed, and opioid litigation against pharmaceutical companies is poised to increase, said the report. The continued “judicial hellhole” reputation has also begun to harm consumers and taxpayers, as various insurers are starting to decline to provide coverage and write policies in this county because of the litigation risk. Cook County, meanwhile, struggles with a reputation for corruptible judges and tremendous numbers of meritless lawsuits, according to the report.
To read the full report, visit http://www.judicialhellholes.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/judicial-hellholes-report-2017-2018.pdf.