Summer is coming to an end: kids are back in school, the NFL season kickoff is right around the corner, and yet the spring session of the Illinois General Assembly continues. It is now in its third month of overtime, with no end in sight.
Illinoisans continue to wait and wait, not only for the end of the budget stalemate between the Democratic leaders of the legislature and Republican Governor Bruce Rauner, but also for action on one of the signature pieces of the Governor’s “Turnaround Agenda” – common sense lawsuit reform.
Illinoisans have been waiting years and years for a governor who would make restoring fairness to Illinois courts a top priority, and they shouldn’t have to wait any longer. The abuse of Illinois courts by wealthy personal injury lawyers costs the state jobs and tax dollars, and reduces funds available for municipal services like road repairs and afterschool programs.
One way personal injury lawyers game the system is by filing frivolous lawsuits that have nothing to do with Illinois, just because they know Illinois courts are notoriously plaintiff friendly. This practice, often called “venue shopping,” is all too common in Illinois – and it is one reason why the state is known nationally as a “Judicial Hellhole.”
In one notorious Illinois County, 98% of the asbestos lawsuits filed are for plaintiffs who do not live in that county. That is an absurd misuse of our courts and our tax dollars, and it hurts all of us. It’s just common sense to require lawsuits filed in Illinois to have an actual connection to the state.
Governor Rauner’s lawsuit reform legislation includes a proposal that will stop personal injury lawyers from shopping around for the friendliest court jurisdiction. We need to create jobs in Illinois, not more lawsuits, which is why Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch applauds Governor Rauner for working to restore fairness to our courts. The reforms proposed by Governor Rauner will create jobs and ensure our courts are used for justice, not greed.
Illinoisans should not have to wait any longer for relief from the epidemic of lawsuit abuse that plagues Illinois. Now is the time for Illinoisans to demand that their legislators stop delaying and pass the reasonable common sense lawsuit reforms proposed by Governor Rauner.
Guest Post from Travis Akin, Executive Director, Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch