ICJL, ILAW & ATRA Travel To Capitol To Push For Common Sense Lawsuit Reforms

From the Illinois Civil Justice League

Fed up with seeing Illinois transformed from the “Land of Lincoln” into the “Land of Lawsuits,” small business owners and concerned citizens traveled to Springfield today to lobby their legislators to pass common sense lawsuit reforms that will reduce the abuse of Illinois courts by aggressive personal injury lawyers and in turn help create jobs here.

The meetings with legislators were part of the “Rally for Lawsuit Reform” hosted by Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch (I-LAW), a grassroots, non-partisan legal watchdog group. Participants kicked off the day with a meeting with Governor Bruce Rauner to tell him personally why they support his proposed lawsuit reforms and to encourage him to keep fighting for these reforms in the face of intense opposition from the personal injury lawyers’ lobby.

Governor Rauner has proposed lawsuit reforms that will stop personal injury lawyers from shopping around for the friendliest court jurisdiction, even if the lawsuit has nothing to do with that jurisdiction.

“Creating new and meaningful jobs is the solution for nearly every other major issue facing Illinois today,” explained Pastuovic. “Unfortunately, the data detailed in our study, as well as the findings in other national studies, have made small, medium and large companies justifiably gun shy about our state. Businesses cannot and will not reinvest in Illinois until these established, deep-rooted and documented problems are addressed once and for all.”

Sherman Joyce, President of the American Tort Reform Association, said other states have used common sense lawsuit reforms as a way to attract jobs to their states. “The record is clear: common sense lawsuit reforms create jobs. Illinois has an unfortunate national reputation as a state that creates lawsuits, and that is clearly driving away employers and keeping new ones from moving to Illinois.”

Illinois is ranked the third-worst state in the country for legal fairness, according to a report last fall from the non-partisan research company Harris Poll. Commenting on this, Rep. Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon), explained, “The reality is companies look to move to states where the legal climate is fair, which is why Illinois’ status as the “Lawsuit Abuse Capital of the Midwest’ is making it extremely difficult to attract new employers. Even worse, Illinois is actually losing jobs, as companies have move across our borders to states like Wisconsin that have recently passed common sense lawsuit reforms to make it less likely that businesses there will be frivolously sued.



Editorial: Legal Reform Requires Careful Negotiations

From the Bloomington Pantagraph and Decatur Herald & Review

The state of Illinois either has one of the nation’s worst judicial climates, or is a state where the ordinary plaintiff has a fair chance to win against corporate giants.

It just depends on who you ask. More importantly, it depends on where the money is located.

That’s the result of the news last week that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was proclaiming the Illinois lawsuit climate was one of the worst in the nation.

According to a survey conducted for the Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform by Harris Poll, the chamber said only Louisiana and West Virginia have worse lawsuit climates.

The results are based on questionnaires asked of senior company attorneys about how a state’s lawsuit environment is likely to affect important business decisions. So, at best, the results of the survey were pretty predictable.

However, Gov. Bruce Rauner lent his support to the issue, saying the lawsuit environment in the state is hampering economic growth.

“You come here, you open yourself up to attack and excessive judgment against your company,” the governor said.

Rauner has proposed legislation that he says will put the system more into balance. Those reforms include medical awards based on charges rather than actual payments, changing overly inclusive liability standards and limiting venue shopping by plaintiffs.

View the full editorial at the Bloomington Pantagraph…

News Update

Illinois Will Delay Pension Payment, Citing Cash Shortage

From Crain’s Chicago Business

Illinois will delay payments to its pension fund as a prolonged budget impasse causes a cash shortage, Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger said.

The spending standoff between Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and Democratic legislative leaders has extended into its fourth month with no signs of ending. Munger said her office will postpone a $560 million retirement-fund payment next month, and may make the December contribution late.

“This decision is choosing the least of a number of bad options,” Munger told reporters in Chicago on Wednesday. “For all intents and purposes, we are out of money now.”

Munger said the pension systems will be paid in full by the end of the fiscal year in June. The state still is making bond payments, and retirees are receiving checks, she said.

“We prioritize the bond payments above everything else,” Munger told reporters.

The pension payment delay was inevitable, said some who have been watching the budget gridlock.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Ralph Martire, executive director of the Chicago-based Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, which monitors Illinois finances.

“Every month they go without resolving the impasse on the budget means it’ll cost more to ultimately resolve it,” Martire said. “This is a natural, predictable consequence if you do something called math.”

Read more in our daily News Update…