Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Madison County falls from Judicial Hellhole list

The American Tort Reform Association this morning released its annual list of "Judicial Hellholes."

Excessive awards from lawsuits are a drag on our economy, stifle business growth, drives up the cost of health care, and in the end, it is you who ends up paying the bill. Okay, that's my opinion, but I'm not alone in my thoughts.

Here are this year's Hellholes:

South Florida

Rio Grande Valley and Gulf Coast, Texas

Cook County, Illinois

West Virginia

Clark County, Nevada

Atlantic County, New Jersey

But there is some good news, and the ATRA didn't overlook it. Perennial denizen of the Hellhole list, Madison County, Illinois, didn't make the cut. Along with neighboring St. Clair Couny, Madison County is on the 2007 Hellhole watch list.

From the ATRA's press release:

Besides naming two new Judicial Hellholes this year, the biggest headline may be the fact that Madison County, Illinois is no longer a Hellhole," noted ATRA president Sherman "Tiger" Joyce. "In each of the last five years Madison County was cited as a leading Hellhole. But led by Chief Judge Ann Callis and Judge Daniel Stack, the courts there have undertaken several positive reforms which justify moving the county this year to the report's ‘Watch List.'

In 2005, President Bush gave a speech in Madison County and had this to say:

The number of class actions rose 5000% from 1998 to 2003 even though the vast majority of defendants were not actually from Madison County.The proper place for massive class actions is not in local court but in federal court.

But of course the scorecard is mixed in Illinois, since Cook County made the ATRA roll of dishonor.
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