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March 18th, 2011

McLean County Poised To Become Illinois’ Latest ‘Judicial Hellhole’

McLean County, Illinois, was cited among Other Areas to Watch in the 2010/2011 Judicial Hellholes report, as it apparently aspires to the plaintiff-friendly shenanigans of three more notorious counties in the state — CookMadison and St. Clair.

Reported by Business Insurance, a recent $90 million asbestos verdict in McLean County included roughly $80 million for punitive damages to be paid to one individual plaintiff by three defendants who allegedly conspired to hide the health risks of exposure to asbestos from employees and consumers.

An article published last year in the Northern Illinois University Law Review, “The Need for Rational Boundaries in Civil Conspiracy Claims,” makes clear that such lawsuits are increasingly popular with personal injury lawyers and certain judges.  And as reporting by the Madison-St. Clair Record on a similar trial in McLean County last year suggested, asbestos defendants never have a chance there, thanks to Judge Michael Prall’s bias.

Nevertheless, to their credit, two of the defendants in the recent case, Honeywell and Owens-Illinois continue to deny being a part of any conspiracy and have vowed to appeal the verdict.  Judicial Hellholes reporters will monitor this case and others as a case for citing McLean County as a full blown Judicial Hellhole grows ever stronger.  Stay tuned.

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