Illinois has long been known as the “Land of Lincoln,” but due to aggressive efforts by personal injury lawyers to game the system to their advantage, Illinois has been turned into the “Land of Lawsuits.”
Illinois was ranked the third-worst state in the country for legal fairness, according to a report from the respected Harris Poll company, and our state is home to three of the worst “Judicial Hellholes” in the country, as ranked by the American Tort Reform Association.
Personal injury lawyers have given millions of dollars to the campaign of their friends to get them elected as judges in Illinois. Far too often, judges in Illinois allow cases to be heard hear that have nothing to do with Illinois. In one of our “Judicial Hellholes,” Madison County, less than 1% of all asbestos-related lawsuits filed there are on behalf of Illinois plaintiffs.
It should come as no surprise, but personal injury lawyers have now found a new way to game the system in Illinois, according to a new report from the Illinois Civil Justice League, that documents the growing practice of “double dipping” here that has been outlawed in other states.
Here is how the gamesmanship works. Plaintiffs’ attorneys file an asbestos claim in court against small businesses and other defendants. Then, after the case is resolved, they file claims against various asbestos trust funds, which allows them to get paid twice for the same claim.
This lack of transparency and incentive to double dip creates a perverse profit motive for personal injury lawyers to file even more lawsuits here that target Illinois businesses. This is especially troubling given the fact neighboring states Missouri and Iowa have just passed laws this year that target this kind of double dipping through increased transparency.
These two bordering states have made their lawsuit systems more fair with the stated intention of luring Illinois businesses that want to cross the river to flee being a target in the “Land of Lawsuits.”
Missouri, the “Show Me State,” is showing Illinois the way to create jobs by restoring fairness and common sense to their courts, and yet here in the “Sue Me State,” Illinois legislators have so far failed to advance similar common sense legislation.
As a result, the personal injury lawyers win, and the rest of us lose. It is time for Illinois legislators to stop siding with the personal injury lawyers who game the system and start standing up for fairness and common sense in our courts that will help us retain and expand jobs here.