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Chicago, Madison County, St. Louis, January, 4, 2017

Report Names Illinois, Missouri Courts as “Judicial Hellholes”

The American Tort Reform Foundation (ATRF) recently issued its “2016-2017 Judicial Hellholes” report, naming courts in Illinois and Missouri among the nation’s “most unfair” in their handling of civil litigation.

“The Judicial Hellholes program documents troubling developments in jurisdictions where civil court judges systematically apply laws and court procedures in an unfair and unbalanced manner, generally to the disadvantage of defendants,” says ATRF President Tiger Joyce.

The City of St. Louis was named the number one ranked judicial hellhole, described in the report as a magnet for product liability lawsuits and consumer class actions. Per Joyce, “the overwhelming majority of plaintiffs filing these suits are not from St. Louis, or even from Missouri. They travel from across the country to exploit a weak venue law as their lawyers spend heavily on television advertising that works to prejudice potential jurors against defendants.”

Cook, Madison and St. Clair Counties in Illinois collectively comprise the sixth-ranked hellhole. The report states, “Whether it’s medical malpractice, product liability or disability access lawsuits, Cook County is the wrong place to defend a case. Meanwhile, largely rural Madison County still serves as the nation’s epicenter for asbestos lawsuits. That it is the place of choice for plaintiffs’ firms is unsurprising given the close relationship between the judiciary and local lawyers, and a deck that is stacked against defendants. Its troublesome neighbor St. Clair County also hosts more than its fair share of litigation.”

With offices in Chicago (Cook County), Edwardsville (Madison County) and St. Louis, Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP regularly represent clients in these courts. Our familiarity with judges and plaintiff’s counsel enables our attorneys to serve as "go to" counsel in these and other challenging jurisdictions.

To review the full report, please visit this link.

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