The Illinois Civil Justice League just celebrated 20 years of working to bring fairness and common sense back to Illinois courtrooms. When one thinks of the Illinois Civil Justice League, there is one name that comes to mind and that is Ed Murnane.
Ed’s tireless leadership has made ICJL a difference maker in Illinois. In the past few years, Ed has been successful in stopping lawsuit lending legislation; the reinstatement of the structural work act and personal injury lawyer attempts to change state law to make it easier for plaintiffs to target the deep pockets in joint and several liability cases.
The Illinois Civil Justice League also has been instrumental in working with local officials in Madison County to improve the legal climate in one of the worst “Judicial Hellholes” in the country. Madison County’s reputation as a magnet for lawsuit abuse made national headlines when President George W. Bush used Madison County as the backdrop to announce a series of lawsuit reforms in 2004.
But thanks to Ed’s leadership the reforms implemented at the local level in Madison County have greatly improved the legal climate there. Yes, problems still exist in Madison County, but thanks to Ed’s tireless efforts – there have been significant improvements to the legal climate in Madison County.
In 1995, it was Ed’s leadership that helped pave the way for Illinois to finally enact comprehensive lawsuit reforms. Ed also was instrumental in getting the comprehensive medical liability reform law enacted in 2005.
At the time, these reforms were some of the most significant such reforms in the entire country. Unfortunately, these signature reforms were struck down by the activist Illinois Supreme Court.
The need for good judges in Illinois has become a big part of the ICJL mission. The IllinoisJudges.net website is one of the best places to go to find out information on the judges up for election and retention in any given election cycle.
As much as has been accomplished in the last 20 years, the stark reality is that there is much more work to do. Madison County is still ranked as one of the worst “Judicial Hellholes” in the country. Lawsuit reform legislation continues to stall in legislative committees and the Illinois Supreme Court remains hostile to lawsuit reform.
The challenges ahead are great but thanks to the efforts of Ed Murnane, the Civil Justice reform community is well poised to meet both current and future challenges.
Travis Akin is Executive Director of Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch