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Judicial Hellholes 2021-2022
Once again, Illinois has rounded out the top 5 on the nation’s Judicial Hellholes list for 2021-22. The three counties securing the 5th place ranking together are Cook, Madison & St. Clair Counties, IL. These three counties in Illinois are a magnet for asbestos litigation and now also apparently for no-injury lawsuits, stemming mainly from the BIPA litigation (i.e. the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act). Moreover, the governor supports a liability-expanding agenda which is a serious problem for Illinois’ citizens and small businesses. Despite an 11% decrease nationwide in asbestos filings, Madison & St. Clair Counties both experienced increases in filings. The report indicates that plaintiffs continue to file claims in these jurisdictions because of plaintiff-friendly reputations, low evidentiary standards, and an apparent willingness on the part of the bench to allow meritless claims to survive.
Also, making the top 10 is the City of St. Louis, Missouri which holds the seventh position on that list. Being on this list for St. Louis is also nothing new, notwithstanding recent attempts at legislative reform. The City of St. Louis Circuit Court still allows for plaintiffs to “forum shop” and present “junk science” to prosecute their claims. There is also uncertainty around the state’s punitive damage standard, which is dangerous in a court known for excessive awards. That said, the Missouri Supreme Court upheld the state’s statutory limit on non-economic damages in medical liability cases so there is hope for improvement in that state.