Cook County and Metro East Rank in Top 5 “Judicial Hells” in the United States


The Illinois courts’ long history of friendship with plaintiffs and personal injury attorneys reappeared in a reform group’s annual filing. Cook County, St. Clair County and Madison County have climbed together in the rankings of “judicial underworld”.

Three Illinois counties known for friendliness to plaintiffs collectively ranked fifth in annual report on the nation’s greatest “judicial hells”, particularly in asbestos and injury-free litigation .

Cook, Madison, and St. Clair counties were collectively named the fifth greatest “judicial hell” by the American Tort Reform Association. The trio jumped three places from No.8 last year, with ATRA calling them a “magnet” for asbestos and non-injury lawsuits.

The report released on Dec. 7 states that “the Illinois General Assembly is one of the most pro-plaintiff-friendly legislatures in the country and Gov. JB Pritzker supports an agenda to expand accountability at the expense of citizens of Illinois and Small Business “.

Illinois, as a state, was on the list of “Eternal Judicial Hells.” It has a jurisdiction named in the Judicial Hellholes report every year since 2002, when the report began.

Asbestos

Asbestos deposits were a major factor in the ranking. The report cites an increase in asbestos filings for Madison and St. Clair counties despite an 11% nationwide decrease in asbestos lawsuits.

Asbestos claims in the three counties accounted for 46% of the country’s total. Madison County, where 31% of nationwide asbestos claims have been filed, was by far the number 1 in the country for claims. The next closest jurisdiction, St. Clair County, had one-third of the depots as neighboring Madison County, both located in the Metro East adjacent to St. Louis.

Cook County’s asbestos deposits fell 21% in 2020, but it still held its place as the eighth most popular jurisdiction for asbestos claims.

Biometric Information Protection Act

The rankings were also due to cases of “injury-free” biometric privacy. Passed in 2008, the law grants a legal remedy to a person whose fingerprint, voice print, hand or face scan or similar information is used, sold or stored without meeting the requirements set out by the law. .

Biometric cases exploded after the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in 2019 that plaintiffs do not have to prove harm to collect damages. As a result, 2019 alone saw twice as many cases as the previous decade.

“Class action lawyers are profiting by targeting businesses of all sizes that use iris scans, fingerprints and facial recognition data,” the report said on Dec. 7.

You’ve probably seen these lawyers in your house. Spending on television advertising for legal services has increased 70% in Illinois over the past five years.

Excessive crime has cost Illinois more than 140,000 jobs, or $ 9.57 billion in wages, according to Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse. The total costs impose a “tort tax” of $ 1,049 for each Illinois. Money that could have been spent on hiring new employees or investing in a new business instead goes to litigation.

This year marks the first “judicial hellhole” without former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan in the legislature. The report named Madigan the “longtime legislative champion of the trial bar,” because of his history of campaign contributions to the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association PAC, which has berated Judicial Hellholes reports in the past as being biased. and based on unwanted research.

ATRA is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to civil justice reform. The stated mission of the Judicial Hellholes report is to identify places “where civil judges systematically apply laws and court proceedings in an unfair and unbalanced manner.”

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