Another Dubious Distinction for Illinois

Date: January 17, 2017

ATRF recognizes 3 of the state’s counties as 'judicial hellholes.'

The American Tort Reform Foundation (ATRF) released its 2016-2017 Judicial Hellhole report in December, and Cook, Madison, and St. Clair counties collectively made the list at No. 6.

The report says, “These three Illinois counties have long been go-to places for filing lawsuits. Whether it is medical malpractice, product liability or disability access lawsuits, Chicago is the wrong place to defend a case. Meanwhile, largely rural Madison County still serves as the nation’s epicenter for asbestos lawsuits. That it is the place of choice for plaintiffs’ firms is unsurprising given the close relationship between the judiciary and local lawyers, and a deck that is stacked against defendants. Its troublesome neighbor St. Clair County also hosts more than its fair share of litigation. Its judges have manipulated the judicial selection system to remain on the bench. The state’s expansive liability laws and the influence wealthy plaintiffs’ lawyers exert on state politics further concern defendants.”

 ATRF ended on a slight positive note by noting that Gov. Bruce Rauner has been consistently advocating for civil justice reforms in the past two years, including “limits on forum shopping, strengthening the reliability of expert testimony, reducing the opportunity for fraud and double-dipping in asbestos litigation and providing jurors with more information to ensure awards accurately reflect the plaintiff’s medical expenses.” Of course, given the governor’s ongoing stalemate with the state’s legislative leaders, the path to tort reform—along with other badly needed reforms—is still uphill.

 Visit http://www.judicialhellholes.org/2016-2017/cook-madison-and-st-clair-counties-illinois/ to read the full ATRF report on Illinois’ troubled counties.

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