Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

January 8, 2014

Fix judicial system

Editor:

The release of the annual “Judicial Hellholes” report from the American Tort Reform Foundation once again paints a grim picture of Illinois. With three “Judicial Hellholes,” the Land of Lincoln has become the Land of Lawsuits.

ATRF defines a Judicial Hellhole as “a place where judges systematically apply laws and court procedures in an unfair and unbalanced manner.” According to the 2013 report, Madison and St. Clair counties are ranked jointly as the nation’s fifth-worst Judicial Hellhole, while Cook County was placed on the watch list, ATRF’s second tier of Judicial Hellholes.

Illinois’ status as one of the country’s worst Judicial Hellholes makes it difficult to attract badly-needed jobs. Illinois’ unemployment rate of 8.9 percent is the fourth highest in the country. The website “Governing” recently ranked the Illinois economy as the sixth-worst in the country, while neighboring Iowa was ranked the second best economy in the nation.

Not surprisingly, Illinois also ranks 46th out of 50 states for legal fairness in a recent report from the non-partisan Harris Research Company. Illinois’ lawsuit climate ranked beneath every bordering state including Indiana (14), Iowa (10), Kentucky (38), Missouri (32) and Wisconsin (15).

Illinois has a broken court system that is creating lawsuits, not jobs. Judges need to take steps to restore fairness and common sense to Illinois courts to help create an environment of job growth and job creation.

Travis Akin

Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch

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