Push for Lawsuit Reform in Illinois

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ILLINOIS (WIFR) -- A local watchdog group sees a big problem with lawsuit abuse in the State of Illinois, which is why it’s demanding reform. The non-partisan group is called “Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch” and it claims personal injury lawyers are flocking to Illinois to file lawsuits in our “plaintiff friendly courts.” They say that is scaring away business which is why they want venue reform.

I-LAW representatives also say it’s too easy to take advantage of the system. People suing for illegitimate reasons and getting away with it. The group cites our state’s above average unemployment rate and says part of the reason is because businesses are either leaving Illinois or not coming here because of legal concerns. However, local attorneys say this type of reform will hamper the rights of residents.

"Big business is trying to make people that do have bad things happen to them, that do have painful accidents, that do have interruptions in their income as a result of it, to have them feel bad about taking advantage of their rights and that's not something we're going to advocate for,” said Ryan Gailey, an attorney with Greg Tuite and Associates.

"They come here to hit the lawsuit lottery so what we're trying to do through legislation is to put in place some guidelines that will put a lid on a lot of that activity,” said Travis Akin the Executive Director of I-LAW.

Akin gave one example of Rockford's Save-A-Lot, where a woman sued after she claimed she slipped on water. It turned out, she really didn't, but the store still had to spend time and money on a bogus claim. However, Gailey argues it's not costing businesses but insurance companies. Akin says those extra insurance costs can trickle down to taxpayers.

Illinois legislators Dave Syverson and John Cabello were at today's event to support more reform. Cabello points out that the potential reform would also protect *residents from lawsuits, not just businesses.

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