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JUDICIAL HELLHOLES 2016-2017: Illinois jurisdictions make the list in droves!
Once again, the ATR Foundation in Washington DC has released its Judicial Hellholes for 2016-2017 report (JudicialHellholes-2016.pdf (2607 KB)). St. Louis City, MO now tops the list primarily because they hosted verdicts totaling $197 million in talcum powder causing cancer cases among others. St. Louis has become a target jurisdiction for product liability and class action law suits. They have weak venue laws and it’s nearly impossible to challenge forum in that jurisdiction. Moreover, the courts are so permissive in allowing expert testimony that they permit what amounts to “junk science” in just about any other jurisdiction. The counties of Madison, St. Clair and Cook County are all in competition to be the “pride” of Illinois given that they have all tied for 6th place on the list. This is primarily because they all are plaintiff friendly jurisdictions especially for asbestos litigation, Madison County being the primary target for most of those plaintiffs. The good news for Madison County is that they have dropped one spot down from 5th place. Not to be outdone, McLean County Illinois has now made the watch list primarily because they have had a number of verdicts and court rulings that have been overturned on appeal. The rankings are as follows:
1. City of St. Louis, MO
3. New York City Asbestos Litigation
4. Florida Supreme Court and South Florida
5. New Jersey
6. Cook, Madison and St. Clair Counties, Illinois
8. Newport News, Virginia
9. Hidalgo County, Texas
Other jurisdictions that made the “Watch List” include the Supreme Courts of Georgia, Montana and Pennsylvania, as well as the Northern District of Texas, the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Pittsburgh (Allegheny County Pennsylvania and the state of West Virginia. States receiving the Dishonorable Mentions include Arkansas, Indiana and Maryland for particularly unsound court decisions.