LOCKPORT - In an election year, when it's so easy to get angry and frustrated over unemployment rates, higher taxes, skyrocketing gas prices, along comes yet another topic that is aggravating - America's trial lawyer scams, roadblocks on tort reform and criminal activity preying on innocent people and businesses. It's outrageous. And yes, it's an "InJustice."
Illinois is at the national epicenter of this atrocity. According to a Harris Interactive survey, Illinois ranks as one of the nation's least fair and reasonable lawsuit climates - 45th out of 50. Three Illinois counties - Madison, St. Clair and McLean - are ranked among the top "judicial hellholes" by the American Tort Reform Association.
Between 1994 and 2004, 5000 asbestos cases were filed in Madison County, 75% of which the plaintiffs had never set foot in Madison County before filing their lawsuits. In less than 30 yrs, 85 companies nationwide collapsed as a result of asbestos lawsuits.
The new documentary "Injustice" reviews how trial lawyers maneuvered their way into millions and billions by scamming the judicial system via class action lawsuits. Stories are told as to how trial attorneys set up for huge fees, luring ill or fearful plaintiffs into filing suit after suit. Eventually, the scams were discovered and wiretapped conversations revealed evidence that sent three of the involved lawyers to federal prison. Still, the practice continues as more and more law firms get rich on suffering, trusting but sometimes naive, gullible victims.
The "Injustice" producers sent representative Curt Mercandante to a Homer/Lockport Tea Party gathering last week to show the film and explain the devastating effect of unleashed trial lawyers determined to get money and even the playing field between injured workers and business owners. Homer Tea Party leader Steve Ballich hosted the showing, and WLS 890 AM's Dan Proft prefaced the showing with remarks about how the "Injustice" system is part of Illinois' damaged image.
If you're thinking of starting a business, becoming a doctor, lawyer or simply living in the state of Illinois for any length of time, "Injustice" is a film you should see. But be prepared - you'll come away angry, frustrated and bewildered. Despite all that, you'll be informed.