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Reforms Sought in Madison County

“Seven businesses that constantly defend asbestos suits in Madison County have urged Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder to curtail the county’s role as a litigation magnet,” according to The Madison Record today.

Though the judiciary deserves credit for significantly improving the county’s civil justice system since Madison County, Illinois was named the report’s first #1 Judicial Hellhole, it remains on the Watch List due to concerns that it is backsliding.  In 2006, asbestos cases had waned to 325 after waxing to a high of about 950 in 2003. In 2009, however, the number of such filings surged back up to 814.  According to the proposal filed with Judge Crowder, lawyers have filed 738 asbestos filings in the county so far this year.  The asbestos claims, which flow to Madison County from around the country, account for nearly 60% of lawsuits in the court seeking over $50,000.

The proposal urges the court to change court procedures that place an unfair burden when defending against cases in the county.

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