From the Madison County Record
National advertising for lung cancer victims helped contribute to yet another record for newly filed asbestos cases in Madison County in 2013, according to local counsel.
The Circuit Clerk’s office reports that 1,678 new asbestos cases were filed last year, eclipsing a previous record in 2012 by more than 100.
Interestingly, a New York plaintiffs’ firm that opened in Edwardsville a few years ago – Napoli, Bern, Ripka & Shkolnik – filed the most at 525-plus, showing up hometown suers Simmons of Alton and Gori and Julian of Edwardsville.
Brian Huelsmann, asbestos defense attorney and partner at HeplerBroom in Edwardsville, commented on the court’s caseload doubling in the last four years and tripling since 2007.
“That is, to me, a very significant increase in the amount of asbestos cases,” he said.
The numbers rose steadily from 2006 until 2011, increasing roughly 100 cases per year with a slight drop in 2010.
However, approaching 2012, Madison County jumped by more than 600 cases from the previous year. In years past, records show there were 325 cases filed in 2006; 455 cases in 2007; 659 cases in 2008; 814 in 2009; 752 in 2010; 953 in 2011 and 1,563 in 2012.
Even without the new record, Madison County laid claim to the largest asbestos docket in the country. It was dubbed the “epicenter” of asbestos litigation by the American Tort Reform Association in its 2013 “Judicial Hellholes” report.
It’s Time To Change Judicial Selection Process
From ICJL President Ed Murnane
It is becoming a familiar story – even a boring, tiresome story.
Every year in December, the American Tort Reform Association issues a report calling attention to the worst judicial jurisdictions in the U.S. – jurisdictions which ATRA determines are “judicial hellholes.”
As a former member of the ATRA board of directors – chairman of the board, even – I know the review that leads to the ranking is thorough and fair and honest.
The “judicial hellhole” description may seem strong, even harsh, but it is accurate. The description is assigned to those legal jurisdictions in the United States in which fairness and common sense do not prevail. These are jurisdictions in which balance – and supposedly justice – are determined by judges (and maybe, but rarely, by juries) after listening to the pleadings of both sides.
Illinois is a perennial home of one, usually two, and sometimes even three “hellholes.” Madison and St. Clair counties have winning streaks going; they are almost always in the top ten, as they were this year (ranked sixth, jointly). Cook County, that legal cesspool at the opposite end of I-55, is on the “watch” list this year, which means it is not a full-blown hellhole but close enough among the thousands of legal jurisdictions in the United States to make the ATRA news release.
The quality of courts – and the fairness of courts – is primarily determined by the quality and the fairness of the judges. If the judge is “bought” or “crooked,” chances are the judgments in his or her courtroom will be suspect. If a good, honest and clean judge is practicing in a “suspect” jurisdiction, his or her performance can be viewed as tainted too, regardless of whether the judge was a choir boy or flower girl in earlier years.
The quality and integrity and fairness and honesty – and probably many other descriptive words – of judges is largely determined by who the judge is, and how he or she is selected and placed in that seat of supposed wisdom and fairness.
Read the entire commentary…
Quinn May Struggle With ‘Miffed’ Democrats: Survey
From Crain’s Chicago Business
Gov. Pat Quinn may have some work to do shoring up his support among Democrats as he gears up for the November election, when he will face a Republican challenger, likely frontrunner Bruce Rauner, according to a poll released today.
Just 57 percent of likely Democratic voters said they approve of the job Mr. Quinn is doing, according to a survey of 1,162 conducted by We Ask America, the polling arm of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. Of those surveyed, 31 percent said they disapproved and 12 percent said they were neutral, according to the automated survey conducted March 3-4.
“That just shows you how soft his support is,” said Jonathan Peterson, an assistant professor of political science at North Park University, who wasn’t involved in the survey.
By comparison, President Barack Obama’s approval rating among Democrats nationwide has been in the 80 percent range, even as his approval rating among all voters has hovered around 40 percent, Mr. Peterson noted.
Once source of dissatisfaction maybe the weak performance of the Illinois economy, compared to other states, he added.
Read more in our daily News Update…