MARION IL – Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch (I-LAW), a grassroots, non-partisan legal watchdog group kicked off “Lawsuit Abuse Awareness Week” with a call for state lawmakers to follow the lead of other states by enacting meaningful lawsuit reform.
The group pointed at the state legislature's Democrat leaders to blame for the lack of judicial reform in Illinois.
House Speaker Michael Madigan (D) and Senate President John Cullerton (D) both failed to allow votes to be taken on common sense lawsuit reforms that had been introduced early in the session, the group said.
By contrast, the legislatures in neighboring states Missouri and Iowa both passed lawsuit reforms this year that were expressly designed to make their states less friendly to personal injury lawyers and friendlier to job creators.
“It is a tale of two states,” explained Travis Akin, I-LAW Executive Director. “Missouri – the ‘Show Me State’ – has responded to a growing lawsuit abuse epidemic there by moving swiftly this year to enact meaningful lawsuit reforms that will stop personal injury lawyers from filing junk lawsuits against employers. The ‘Show Me State’ is showing the way.
Illinois – the ‘Sue Me State’ – continues to allow powerful personal injury lawyers to game the system to their personal advantage while their backers in the Illinois General Assembly continue to block common sense lawsuit reforms that will help keep businesses from fleeing the state, Akin said.
"The ‘Sue Me State’ is saying, ‘Sue away!’," he said. "This failure to restore fairness to Illinois courts will undoubtedly now send jobs away, and that is not something our state can afford. Illinois would be in a much better position to land Amazon and the 50,000 jobs that come with the online retail giant if our legislative leaders had followed the lead of surrounding states and enacted meaningful lawsuit reforms here in Illinois.”
According to the most recent “Lawsuit Climate Survey” conducted by Harris Poll, Illinois ranks near the bottom of the nation in terms of its lawsuit environment – 48th worst of the 50 states. More than 85 percent of the business leaders surveyed by Harris Poll for this report said lawsuit climate is a “significant factor” in determining where to expand and grow.
“We need to create jobs in Illinois, not more lawsuits in Illinois,” Akin said. “Unfortunately, lawmakers left Springfield without taking up any lawsuit reform legislation. While surrounding states are making real progress in enacting meaningful lawsuit reforms, Illinois continues to lag behind. Illinoisans should contact their legislators and ask them if they will stand with the personal injury lawyers, who are the only ones who profit from this unfair system, or the small businesses and individual citizens who are far too frequently targets of unfair frivolous lawsuits and are made to pay for personal injury lawyer greed.”
Cook, Madison and St. Clair counties have consistently ranked for over a decade as some of the worst “Judicial Hellholes” in the country, according to annual the “Judicial Hellholes” report from the American Tort Reform Foundation.
“For far too long, Cook, Madison and St. Clair Counties have been a magnet for personal injury lawyers and plaintiffs from all over the country who clog our courts with junk lawsuits that have nothing to do with Illinois, all in the hopes of striking it rich playing our region’s plaintiff-friendly lawsuit lottery. Too many judges in these counties have allowed greedy personal injury lawyers to game the system to their advantage, and that is hurting job creation efforts in the Land of Lincoln.”
Chief Executive Magazine released a report earlier this year ranking Illinois the third worst state in the nation for business. In the report, one CEO noted, “Illinois is becoming a worse state to do business in all the time. Other businesses are leaving Illinois, which affects our customer base.”
“The status quo is not working,” Akin said. “Illinois’ credit rating is near junk status and has a growing backlog of unpaid bills that is spiraling out of control. People are leaving Illinois in droves and still Illinois’ legislative leaders refuse to take the common-sense steps other states have taken to create jobs. It is time for Illinois to stop being the “Sue Me” state and time to rally for reforms throughout the state. It is time to treat every week in Illinois like it is ‘Lawsuit Abuse Awareness Week.’”
For more information about Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch, visit them on the web at www.ILLawsuitAbuseWatch.org.